Last night I saw the new horror movie being touted as the scariest film ever made: Hereditary. Continuing the trend of fresh faces in the horror scene, this is yet another directorial debut, following in the footsteps of Jordan Peele’s Get Out, Robert Eggers The Witch, and John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place. My last review of the aforementioned A Quiet Place, I mentioned that we are in a horror renaissance. I can confidently say that in every way, this trend continues (perhaps stronger than ever) with Hereditary.
Hereditary opens up with a family of four attending a funeral for their mother/grandmother. A woman who they said was often very private and kept her fair share of secrets. The Graham family is made up by the mother Annie, the father Steve, and their children Peter and Charlie. This movie follows the family after the late Ellen Graham passes on her demons to the next generation.
The trailer for Hereditary does an incredible job at telling you what the movie will feel like, and a few barebones plot details, but keeps most everything under wraps.
Because of that, I REFUSE to spill any information beyond what the trailer does. The story takes some serious twists and turns that catch you COMPLETELY off guard. It progresses at a solid 0 to 50 pretty quickly, then not too far into the film goes from 50 to 350. I applaud the marketing team for keeping so much under wraps because, in an age of film trailers giving away all of the best parts of their full-length counterparts, this makes the movie feel infinitely more special when you sit down and watch it.
The acting is not only the best I’ve seen in a horror movie but some of the best I’ve ever seen in a movie. The lead actress that plays Annie, Toni Collette, is to this movie as Jack Nicholson was to The Shining. Her performances have the most punch and heartbreak as the horrible sequences of events occur. The son Peter, played by Alex Wolf also portrays his trauma with such convincing realism that you don’t question whether or not you’d react the same as he does to what takes place.
What makes this movie so much more unique is that even without the horror aspect, it excels at a crippling family drama. Even if the film didn’t have elements of the paranormal or gruesome imagery, it would be compelling enough to act on its own as an exposition for the family dealing with their inner struggles.
With that being said, Hereditary is a true blue horror film.
It’s sticking with me in ways that a movie never has. I’d go as far as saying it is the most uncomfortable I’ve ever felt while watching a movie. As much as I enjoyed what I was viewing, the last 20 minutes or so was like being on a roller coaster that had been dropping for that same length after a 30-minute incline, and in the back of my head, I just wanted that feeling to be over. The framing and cinematography draw your attention to exactly what needs to be and hides some aspects that you only need an implication of which makes those frightening scenes even more effective. Some of the final scenes made my drive back to my house feel longer than ever. I was literally shivering from the feeling it gave me, and mind you it wasn’t cold last night.
Up until seeing this, The Shining has always been my favorite horror film. This is either tied with that or will top it in very little time. I will absolutely be seeing this again in theaters before it’s time on the big screen runs out. There’s plenty to be had from further watches, as I had friends asking me if I saw certain little subtleties that weren’t so obvious in scenes. I have nothing negative to say about Hereditary. It accomplishes everything it wants to. If you have any interest in terrifying family dramas, this is the best out there.
Hereditary is in theaters now. Check out the trailer below.