This is one of two remaining modern horror films that I have left to watch for the 1001 list, the other being Paranormal Activity whose inclusion on the list is… suspect (but I’ll go more into that when I eventually get around to watching it). Hereditary is part of this newer breed of horror movie whose horror elements, whilst still very much there, are not the be all and end all. Like a sort of horror-fusion film, in this instance a family drama horror… like if Ordinary People had a second half full of the occult.
Hereditary being a feature directorial debut by Ari Aster is absolutely insane given how everything works straight out from the go – the fact that he also wrote this script shows how talented he is as all these family relationships felt so real. Real, but with demonic possession, a desecrated corpse and seances. The fact that it is so drama focused rather than scares is what makes the ramping up in the final hour so incredible, but conversely what would have turned off a lot of cinema goers who were expecting a fright-fest.
I do hope that those who stayed through the grief counseling and the shots of impeccably made maquettes would have least walked away with a shocking new level of respect for Toni Collette. It’s not like she as a multi-Oscar nominee would need to prove her acting chops to anyone, but the fact that she broadly got left out of award season in 2018 is criminal and must be down to the general bias that many major industry people have against horror as a genre. I mean, if you don’t think of this film in terms of the many ways she broke your heart, pissed you off and freaked you out… well I am not sure we saw the same film.
Hereditary also does the main things that I like to look for in a horror film and I seldom see – things that I won’t go into because spoilers. What I will end on is that, this a brilliantly shot and incredibly acted horror film that deserves the critical praises and should be something many are watching on Halloween for years to come. It would only be fair to see this become a horror classic.