HEREDITARY (2018) — A Gehenna Post Review

Greetings from the Ether,

In a summer filled with superheroes, thrillers, giant monsters, and disappointing sequels, one film has stood above the rest in capturing originality, passion, and horror. Hereditary is director Ari Aster’s debut, and it is one of the most unnerving and nail-bitingly intense films in recent memory. Whereas most horror films that meet a wide release are full of shlock, over-the-top gore, and dreadful acting, Hereditary doesn’t flinch for a moment as it consistently executes a masterful plot with seeding suspense and Oscar-worthy performances.

Still from Hereditary (2018)

The film follows a strange family as they attend the grandmother’s funeral, only to have odd occurrences begin to happen after the service. The story unravels, delving into the stressed relationships between the mother, father, daughter, and son, and tragedy after tragedy occurs, seemingly supernatural events underlying their lives. What follows is an examination of grief, resentment, and the sins that we carry from our parents.

Still from Hereditary (2018)

Aster artistically dunks the viewers into a cinematic experience unlike any other. Long, slow panning shots that lead into visual illusions, minute and disturbing details hiding in the background of many scenes, a boiling tension that is slow-rising within the family, marked by actions rather than exposition. This is the type of film where a second viewing is essential in picking up all of the small hints and Easter eggs that are placed throughout the film, alluding to one of the most shocking finales in recent memory.

Still from Hereditary (2018)

Though all of the stars of the film shine, none more so than Toni Collette. The actress was previously nominated for an Oscar after her performance in The Sixth Sense, so she is no stranger to horror films. In Hereditary, the full breadth of her talents is on display. Collette perfectly portrays a confused, resentful woman who has social anxiety, and her slow-burning performance, as she ranges from loosely hanging in the balance to full on hatred, is one of the best performances in recent memory. Newcomer Milly Shapiro plays the daughter, Charlie, and she masterfully carries the role into unforgettable territory, leaving several of her scenes ingrained into our minds forever.

Still from Hereditary (2018)

Hereditary doesn’t shy away from blowing away our expectations, several twists early on in the film that will leave your jaw gaping and your mind racing for answers. The first two-thirds of the film show just enough to foster curiosity, and to ensure that your hands are white-knuckled on the armrests. By the time the finale arrives, all of the built-up tension detonates as the coming-together of every event intertwines into an insanity-driven, chaotic sequence that will forever be in mind when audiences think of the most intense horror finales of all time.

Still from Hereditary (2018)

Horror is finding new ground in cinema, as each year we seem to have more and more top-notch films that are seeing wider audiences. If there was any doubt before of horror’s place in mainstream cinema, Hereditary will blow out the flame and remind you that the genre is here to stay.

Still from Hereditary (2018)



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