When her mentally ill mother passes away, Annie (Toni Collette), her husband (Gabriel Byrne), son (Alex Wolff), and daughter (Milly Shapiro) all mourn her loss. The family turn to different means to handle their grief, including Annie and her daughter both flirting with the supernatural. They each begin to have disturbing, otherworldly experiences linked to the sinister secrets and emotional trauma that have been passed through the generations of their family.
Our Thoughts on Hereditary
This movie is being touted as “elevated horror” but to me it is a bit of an old fashioned horror movie. Something that plays as a dramatic movie first and then slowly becomes something else. Like “Rosemary” or “Exorcist” but without the high profile clout of those directors. This is two hours of an exploration of family tragedy and grief through characters struggling to cope.
To say much of this film is to ruin it, so lashing praise onto certain aspects of it is the best one can do. Not to say this is a film with a big twist, it isn’t. Toni Collette is fantastic as is no surprise at this point in her career. All the performances carry their own, including one I was unsure of at first but grew on me throughout — Alex Wolff. The cinematography, rhythms and pacing, sense of place and space, and sound design are all superb and work in conjunction to create atmosphere and dread — like a pit in your stomach that continues to grow and grow throughout.
It turns into a genuine nightmare that absolutely worked for me. See it blind, see it as a movie first and foremost (not as a horror show with jump scares), but just see it.
8 out of 10
Ari Aster liked Utah for the film because he thought its mountains are beautiful and breathtaking, but also menacing and ominous.
Ari Aster wanted to go for scares that were emotionally justified, rather than solely leaning on traditional horror “jump scares.”
Ari Aster wrote detailed biographies and backstories for all of the characters before even writing the screenplay.
In Peter’s first scene at school, the words “Escaping Fate” is on the chalkboard with the teacher discussing it. This is a reference to Halloween (1978), where the main character discusses the same thing in class. Appropriately, this movie was released the same day as the trailer for Halloween (2018).