Pay attention everyone, this is how horror is meant to be done. Does Hereditary redefine the horror genre? Maybe not, but it does show how to properly do it justice. Too often horror movies rely on CGI’d monsters, jolting jump scares, and outrageously stupid decisions made by the protagonists. Hereditary is guilty of little of this, instead gradually building dread utilizing Shining-esque pacing, slow panning shots, dim lighting, and some of the most disturbing imagery I’ve ever seen in a film. Some of Hereditary’s most intense moments capitalize on the viewer’s imagination and its few jump scares feel earned rather than forced. The tension was palpable amongst the audience while watching this movie.
What truly brought this movie together was the incredible performance given by Toni Collette (Annie). Her fear, exhaustion, and anguish radiated every second she was on screen. Annie’s children, Charlie and Peter, respectively played by Milly Shapiro and Alex Wolff, also gave exceptional performances. Alex’s portrayal of Peter brought me back to how I felt watching horror movies as a teenager and the conflict between him and Annie was potent and authentic.
As much as I loved this movie I must admit that as the movie entered the third act I found myself slightly disappointed. Just to clarify, the ending was solid; it was just lacking the originality that a horror of this caliber deserved. It was an exceptional build up that culminated in a good ending. That said, the final 10 minutes beautifully released the pressure that had built up in a well thought out and haunting climax.
Hereditary felt like being trapped in a car slowly rolling its way toward the edge of a cliff which ends up being an active volcano. Horror nut or not, you don’t want to miss this one.
Production Design: 7/10
Overall Score: 8.8/10