Director: Ari Aster
Starring: Toni Collette, Milly Shapiro, Gabriel Byrne
I can hear you now: "What another horror movie?", and you're right but I can't help it that the genre is just killing it (teehee puns) right now. Tonights film has been on my radar for quite awhile thanks to very favorable buzz from when it debuted at Sundance early in the year, and it cemented its place there with a truly intriguing trailer. It finally hit the multiplexes a few weeks ago so I bought myself a ticket and entered the theater with very high expectations. Well did it live up to my lofty standards? Lets dive right in and find out!
After Annie Graham's mother dies a string of strange and horrible events plague her and her family.
If that plot description sounds suspiciously simple, don't worry because honestly the less you know going into "Hereditary" the better. This film falls into a certain elite class of horror movie I've taken to calling "Serious Horror". I call it this because every single little detail of the film from themes, score, performances, cinematography, lighting, you name it, is handled with complete and utter seriousness and care. There is no winking at the camera or tongue in cheek self-awareness. No comic relief side characters. This is straight terror distilled onto the screen. These films simply treat the subject matter with absolute and utter "seriousness". This "sub-genre" includes classics like "The Exorcist (1973)", "The Omen (1976)", "Psycho (1960)", and "The Innocents (1961)". With newer entries into the pantheon being "The Witch (2015)" (review here), "It Comes at Night (2017)", and now "Hereditary (2018)". All three of these new entries into my little club have come from the fantastic production studio A24 who really seem to love and respect the genre. First time feature film director Ari Aster has delivered an absolute masterpiece not only in my own silly sub-genre, but into the genre as a whole. I honestly can't think of a single complaint I could level at this movie. The film works on so many different levels that are not just horror, but as a family drama and even a study of mental illness. Days later I find myself still mulling over this film. Aster is clearly a talented filmmaker and I can not wait to see where he goes next.
Trivia from IMDB for Hereditary:
In an interview, Alex Wolff explains that he wanted to actually break his own nose for the scene where his character slams his head into a desk. Director Ari Aster respectfully declined that offer and told Wolff they'd give him a soft, cushioned desk for the scene. When it was time for the scene to be shot, Wolff slams his head into the desk only to discover that it was not soft nor made out of foam that resulted into Wolffs actual blood gushing down to his knees
The entire interior of the Graham house was built on a sound stage.