After Annie’s (Toni Collette) mother passes away, her family begins to discover dark and horrifying secrets about their heritage, ultimately leading to an ominous fate.
Hereditary has been declared the “scariest movie of 2018” by critics and viewers, but does it live up to the hype?
Yes and no. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the film is the scariest I have ever seen. Hereditary is not full of jump scares, demonic faces or slasher serial killers, but it is relentless in making its viewers feel uncomfortable, upset and disturbed, making it a successful horror film.
First-time writer-director, Ari Aster, has masterfully created a harrowing narrative with plenty of hellish, “WTF” scenes that will make your skin crawl. Pawel Pogorzelski’s foreboding and meticulous cinematography adds to the haunting spectacle.
Despite the horror elements, at its heart, Hereditary is a deep dive into how a family handles grief and trauma. While grappling with these topics, Hereditary opens its doors to a whirlwind of standout performances, most notably its lead, Toni Collette.
Collette takes us on a gutwrenching and emotional rollercoaster sharing her pain, anguish, resentment, and guilt. Although Collette is no newcomer to the horror genre, this particular role may be her best, and I hope she is not overlooked this awards season.
Alex Wolff, who plays Annie’s son Peter, is another standout showcasing a more shocking range of emotions and actions. And while Ann Dowd’s performance as Joan is not as taxing as others, it is always a pleasure to see the actress, who in recent years (thanks to The Leftovers and Handmaid’s Tale) has become a sign of creepy things to come.
Overall, Hereditary is not a typical horror film. It is smart, detailed, and very well crafted. It is definitely worth the watch.
Final Thoughts: Although it may not scare you out of your seat, Hereditary is unsettling and will undoubtedly linger with its viewers far after the credits finish rolling.