Hereditary is a movie I saw back in January at the Sundance Film Festival and it is a movie that has been engrained in my mind since. Director Ari Aster has created a modern horror classic. It’s a tense, moody, atmospheric thriller with deep themes and beautiful craftsmanship. It is genuinely one of the most haunting movie experiences I have ever had and the best movie that I have seen in 2018 so far.
When Annie Graham’s (Toni Collette) mother dies, weird things begin to happen to her and her family. People begin to act differently towards them and the family begins to see things they never saw before, making the family dive into the dark secrets that lurk in their family’s past.
This is writer/director Ari Aster’s debut feature film and it is one of the most impressive debuts of this decade. Hereditary plays out like the younger sibling of horror classics such as Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, with it’s genuine scares and atmosphere. Aster is always in control of this movie, keeping the tone and the horror throughout the film. You never know what it going to happen in Hereditary and you can never predict it. Aster never shows his cards, but when he does, it will shock you. There are images in this movie that will haunt you for months after you see it, as it has with me.
But beyond the scares and mystery, Aster’s focus on it’s characters is what elevates Hereditary to greatness. This is something most horror movies seem to forget, yet is a vital piece in what makes a great movie. These aren’t throw-away characters, these are complex, complicated characters, all of whom have an arc in this movie. Everyone in this family is dealing with issues and they are all dealing with these bizarre happenings and they do it in their own, yet also deal with these with the issues together as a family the best they can. It is this piece that makes Hereditary more than a horror movie, but a complex family drama as well.
Toni Collette gives arguably the best performance of her impressive, yet underrated career as Annie. Watching Collette transform throughout the film is awe-inspiring. She shows a full range of emotions, yet never goes overboard to the point of hammy. She walks a tight rope the entire movie, never giving away her motivations and always hiding something from us, keeping the intrigue the whole movie. She has moments that will have your jaw on the floor. Watch out for this one come awards season. Alex Wolff is also great as Annie’s son, Peter, showing more depth and emotion than he ever has in his young career. Gabriel Byrne is subtle, yet powerful as Annie’s husband, Steve. And the great Ann Dowd is incredible as a women who Annie befriends after her mother’s death.
The mystery of what is going on with this family and what it is this that they have inherited is the driving plot of the movie. You are constantly on the edge of your seat wondering what is going to happen next and what this force is. When the climax happens and we get the reveal, it could end up being divisive to some people. I imagine some people will buy it and some people will not due to it blind-siding the audience and being rather unconventional. I absolutely loved it, but for those who don’t, the only thing I will say is that every family is different and every family deals with different problems. Keep that in mind when watching this movie.
Six months into the 2018 movie year, I have seen almost 90 movies and no movie has been better than Hereditary. This is a movie I have been thinking about since January and a movie that will be stuck in my mind for the rest of the year. The combination of the horror, the drama, the performances, and the climax all make for one of the greatest horror movies I have ever seen.
Did you see Hereditary? What did you think? Comment below or hit me up on Twitter and Instagram, @kevflix, or on Facebook by searching Kevflix.