“Hereditary” Movie Review
“Hereditary” Movie Review
Modern horror movies can, at times, seem to have run out of new ideas and fresh ways to scare audience members. Leading up until recently, the cliché “killer in the house” storyline, loud sounds and a crazy antagonist were found present in almost every horror movie; originality seemed to have lost its importance in this once tasteful genre, and many horror films yearn for the attention they once had. These past few years, however, have seen their fair share of fantastic and original new methods in the art of horror movie making. Movies like “Get Out,” “A Quiet Place” and now “Hereditary,” are prime examples.
“Hereditary” made its theatrical debut on June 8, shocking audience members into a sea of unsettling and terrifying new concepts rarely seen in movies before. The film tells the story of the Grahams, a family who, after the loss of their estranged and private mother/grandmother, begins a haunting and disturbing journey consisting of death, depression, trauma and horrific situations. The film touches on multiple different themes in its 127 minutes, but overall carries an underlying theme of all too realistic grief and tragedy throughout its entirety, which for some, can be more terrifying than the horrors this family comes to face. Director Ari Aster plays with innovative and subjective camera use that leaves you on the edge of your seat, including situations that leave you shrieking out loud and visuals that will leave you sleeping with the light on. What is so unpredictable about the anxiety and fear that he evokes through the camera use, situations and visuals is his ability to tastefully cross boundaries without relying on a creepy soundtrack, overdramatic screams and gore. He quietly allows the film to create a natural feeling of discomfort by letting audience members find the omen of the scene on their own.
The film is a stunning new art of horror movie making, but it is no masterpiece. While Aster did touch on many different themes throughout the film, it seemed that he threw in too many ideas at once without allowing each one to breathe at times. Other A24 movies such as “The Witch” and “It Comes at Night” succeeded in simplistically, allowing the ideas to be absorbed naturally by focusing on one singular idea rather than throwing too much at the audience. When you have so much going on under the surface of the skin of the character, you don’t need much to externalize that into a horrifying situation, but with “Hereditary,” it seemed like there was too much going on with mental health, grief, trauma, horror, cults and demons that it didn’t naturally flow together. Aster seemed to have had too many ideas to just focus on one, but that didn’t mean he needed to focus on all of them.
While the film suffered by stretching itself too thin, the stunning cinematography, amazing screenplay, innovative ideas and the performances by the all-star cast, specifically Toni Collette and newcomer Milly Shapiro, carried the weight that kept it from falling apart. “Hereditary” added itself into the resurgent of the new horror genre that audience members have every reason to believe will continue to succeed.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Lilly Adams is a freshman majoring in Film/Video. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Freshman / Film/Video Studies