Directed By: Ari Aster
Written By: Ari Aster
Runtime: 127 minutes
Hereditary begins with Annie Graham (Toni Collette), her husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne), and her children Peter (Alex Wolf) and Charlie (Milly Shapiro) coping with the recent death of Annie’s mother. Strange and terrifying events quickly begin to occur following the family matriarch’s passing, hinting at a dark family secret that might not have died with her.
This is one of the most suspenseful and unsettling horror movies I’ve seen in a while, and that tone is maintained the whole way through. The pacing is excellent; it works so well in building the tension. The beginning takes plenty of time establishing the characters’ backgrounds, but it doesn’t feel like it drags, because the exposition all feels very natural, thanks to a combination of strong writing and and stellar acting, especially from Toni Collette. The real inciting incident of the film (which is horrifying) takes so long to build up and is so drawn out, but it’s so effective.
Visually, this film is very creative, and not necessarily due to over-the-top special effects. The majority of the effects are practical rather than CGI, and for the most part, they’re pretty understated. This, combined with a good use of lighting and clever camera work, makes for a terrifying viewing experience.
I only have a couple complaints about this movie. Firstly, there isn’t much to Gabriel Byrne‘s character. I’ve enjoyed him in other movies, and I know he can act well; he just isn’t given much to work with here. He doesn’t really interact much with the rest of the family, which makes his chemistry with them so awkward that I initially thought he was the stepfather and not the actual father. It’s not that he seems emotionally distant, which I could almost understand, because it would make the tone feel even more uncomfortable. He just feels unnecessary. I know Annie and the kids are the real focus of the movie, but his character could have been removed and the film wouldn’t have lost anything vital.
Secondly, the ending kind of gives me tonal whiplash. It’s not a bad ending- it’s foreshadowed well, and it has a Rosemary’s Baby vibe that I appreciate- but it also feels more bizarre than the rest of the movie does; still twisted, but in a different, kind of jarring way. It’s a weird note to go out on.
Overall though, this is a fantastic horror movie. It’s well-written, the acting is mostly excellent, the visuals are skillfully done, and it will stick with you long after you leave the theater. If you enjoy scary movies, definitely check out this one.
Have you seen ‘Hereditary’? Well, what did you think?
14 thoughts on “FlixChatter Review – Hereditary (2018)”
Afraid I was disappointed. It is full of things that should be effective, but it is undermined by some choices in the script.
Aw, I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it as much! What choices in the script did you feel were detrimental?
Too many internal dreams within a dream and a constant background because of the miniature art that made everything you were seeing suspect. The inability to separate the “real” from the psychological made them both more mundane than shocking. There are a couple of great moments, but then we get the last two minutes which tries to make it all seem like it made sense. To me, if you have to explain everything in the end, you missed doing so when it would matter.
GAHHH, I’m so sorry for the super late response! I’m usually good at checking comments for a few days after posting and then just forget after. Anyway, fair point on the dreams within a dream. I didn’t mind it, but I can understand why others would. I didn’t think they rushed the explanation at the end too much, as I thought there was some good foreshadowing sprinkled throughout, to the point that not everything had to be explained at the end, although I concede that the “demon of hell needing a host” part of it could have been paced better. Thanks for your response (and again, sorry for the massive delay in mine). 🙂
After so many good reviews, I might actually check it out at a theater later this week!
Awesome! Let me know what you think!
I’m such a wuss when it comes to horror movies but my curiosity is getting the better of me and I need to see this asap! Great review 🙂
Haha, I hope you enjoy it, even if you aren’t a big horror fan! Thanks so much!
I just saw this today and enjoyed it too. I’m glad the pacing worked better for you, I found it going kind of slow at times. Very unsettling indeed!
I’m glad you enjoyed it as well! Normally the slow pacing would bug me, but I thought it helped the tone in this case!
I found the pacing to be a little up and down, especially toward the middle of the movie. I’m not quite sure how to summarize my thoughts on this one yet, although I can say I did like it. The ending was so-so for me, because they alluded to it so heavily in the beginning that it didn’t come as the shock I was expecting.
The pacing was definitely unusual, but I thought it helped build the unsettling vibe. I’m glad I’m not the only one who felt kind of “meh” on the ending.
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