Dir. Ari Aster (2018)
After the death of the family matriarch, an artist and her family struggle with the most extreme family drama in history.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Hereditary burst onto the scene in 2018 and introduced most of the world to Ari Aster, a fresh face in horror and someone who would quickly become beloved on just the strength of his first two films. It’s an exceptionally well-made slow burn of a film with some fierce and impactful scenes of disturbing and shocking horror. Powered by one of the best performances in horror history by Toni Collette (who would have earned her place in my Scream Queens list on this performance alone), Hereditary is essentially a family drama taken to its most extreme ends.
Toni Collette is a fucking tour de force in this film.
There are a few breaks in the drama, most notably the most horrific pole beheading in cinematic history, and these are the moments when Aster’s brand of horror really shines. It’s disturbing, yes, but it’s also all used to heighten the drama that’s already there, not to mentioning allow the outstanding cast to further demonstrate their artistic range. Hereditary is definitely slow at times, but the payoff is… well, to call it frightening would be an insult to the extreme horror that this film produces. So much so, in fact, that some have called it the scariest film ever made.
I don’t know that I would go that far, but it may be one of the best horror movies ever made, from an acting, cinematography, and writing perspective at least. Toni Collette delivers an Oscar-worthy performance, and Alex Wolff, Gabriel Byrne, and newcomer Milly Shapiro are absolutely stellar as well (especially Wolff, who demonstrates stellar range beyond what you would expect from a young actor.) And, to top it all off, it is incredibly scary. The ending, specifically, is bizarre and terrifying, and with way too much old people nudity. It’s one of the more bizarre demonic possession movies that I’ve seen, and I spent way too much time researching the hierarchies of Hell after watching the film. The one criticism that I would have is that the demonic plot is that it’s a tad convoluted and really requires multiple watches to pick up on some of the details (and more research on top of that.)
The gore is fantastic, the family issues are devastating, and the lore is fascinating. Aster hits this film out of the park, though I will say that I enjoyed Midsommar as a film more. Hereditary is way scarier, though, and you’ll find yourself dreading what you know is eventually coming. When Paimon (the demon) begins his reign of terror within the family, saying that things go from bad to worse is a prize-worthy understatement. Things are headed towards an inevitable bloody conclusion, and you’re right there on the tracks with the family, waiting for Aster’s Nightmare Train to lay waste to everything.
I’ve ALWAYS wanted to go to Burning Man.
Who this movie is for: Horror fans, Modern horror fans, People who aren’t allergic to nuts
Bottom line: The movie is fantastic, and has rightly earned a place in the horror pantheon. Aster is a brilliant young talent from whom I only expect good things in the future. If his three films are indicative of what comes next, we will have a long career of frightfully disturbing films coming down the line. A must see for any horror fan.