There are many different layers to horror films (after all, it is the most diverse genre out there.) There’s the gross out horrors that deal with blood and guts, there’s the supernatural jump-scare fests that test the strength of your heart, and then there’s the other beasts – the films that claw under your skin. The movies that dig deep into your flesh with nails of despair and anguish. Proper fucking nightmares that cause you to switch on all the lights of your apartment, stealing monstrous images in the dark, and making your crawl like centipede. Ones that change your life forever…
Hereditary is that film.
Hereditary, a truly fucked up film by debut feature director Ari Aster (like seriously, what the fuck dude?) It revolves around Annie who is dealing with the death of mother. Sadly, the stern matriarch made Annie’s life hell with her domineering secrecy and overbearing emotional abuse that dwindled with dementia and DID. After the funeral, Annie’s daughter starts acting strangely as weird happenings occur around their home. Paranoid and terrified, when a tragic accident befalls the family, Annie soon starts to unravel as murderous entities enter the house.
I want to start this review off with a serious question: Why the hell doesn’t Toni Collette have an Academy Award yet? If not, can we give her one for Hereditary as this is a stunning tour-de-force of a performance. She can flit (untrustworthy) I might add, between sorrow and fright and anger and pain. Annie is simply an impeccable role for Collette and she grabs it by the gory, bitter husk. Noteworthy too is the young Alex Wolff as her son Peter – a translucent performer who’s wide eyes scoop up innocence and dread so effectively, you forget that he is a teen stoner.
Aster has crafted a film that is beyond the realms of disturbing. This is a detailed horror film not made to merely scare you but to make an indelible imprint on your psyche. Every layer of production has been designed to the last pin-prick. The cinema framing at the beginning of the film, slowly edging into a miniature replica of the household in which the action takes place. In fact, Annie’s work as a miniaturist lends itself to eerie moments where you feel as though these were merely puppets on display. The editing flits from night to day in a jarringly quick manner and is quick to The soundtrack by Colin Stetson is pulsating, throbbing with absolute terror. The score is subtle at times, building your emotions for the proper scare. It’s a masterful way of procuring chills from your audience that you never forget the sheer awfulness on desplay
Aster’s work is a glorious display of suspense momentum. It’s a build, a slow drawling build. One simplistic sound made a whole audience holler in distress and chuckle at their silliness. It’s a movie that slowing unravels before quickly unleash madness. A movie, that I’ve heard said, that I really want to see again and yet hope I never get too.
Hereditary played at Sundance London
It’s out June 15th!