You’ve heard it before, the forever hyped “best horror ever!” comments that urge you to think of the next one as being different to the others. With “Hereditary” boasting itself as a horror sensation, it’s only natural to be curious about the secrets that lie within this family tree, and to see if the scares live up to the hype.
Following the death of her mother, Annie (Toni Collette) and her family struggle with the grief (or lackthereof) from the loss. Annie’s daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro) in particular struggles, and starts seeing strange things and behaving in an odd manner – which we as an audience can only assume is different to her normal, anti-social façade. After another tragedy hits the family (including Alex Wolf and Gabriel Byrne), they start falling apart rapidly, and Annie’s life is in turmoil, which sees her experiment with the supernatural.
Right kids, here’s the first lesson of the day: don’t summon the dead. Just don’t. Weird things happen, and the spirits just don’t seem to go away. But of course, in Hollywood such mistakes are what make a movie, so here we are. After Annie desperately tries to communicate with the recently deceased, strange things start to happen to her and her family – and this is where the film really shines. The ‘horror’ builds slowly, but effectively, and there are parts of the film that will chill you to the bone. And perhaps make you want to vomit, like it did to me.
Let’s be clear about one thing, though: “Hereditary” is just weird. It has all the makings of a horror film – quite like what you’ve seen before. “The Exorcist” and “Paranormal Activity” immediately spring to mind, but unfortunately it doesn’t colour outside the lines into the realm of originality. That is, until the very last 20 minutes in which things just turn….odd. It’s best to go in not knowing what to expect, but I you may exit the cinema with the same face you came out of “Mother!” with.
Having said that, you can expect a career-best performance from Toni Collette. She is the best part about “Hereditary”, and you’ll know what I mean when I say you’ll wish the story took another turn than the one it does. Ari Aster impresses with his direction, and the cinematography is what I’d describe as ‘symmetrical’ – with his camera shots set up with great care and thought. I just have no clue what he was thinking with the last 20 minutes. One can only assume he’s gone for originality to break away from the aforementioned horror films, but it just falls into the realm of complete ridiculousness instead. The climax of the story bears no resemblance to what has been set up for the previous hour and a half, leaving a lot of salad but not much dressing.
It’s not all bad, however, with the frights dished out by “Hereditary” cementing it as one of the must-see horrors for 2018. While the concept is one we’ve seen many times before, the film certainly delivers on spine-chilling scenes, that will ultimately result in every horror fan wanting just that little bit more at the end of the flick.