Hereditary has been hyped as the most terrifying film of the year, and many people agree.
As a seasoned horror fan, I can’t say I agree. Not by a long shot. But it was highly disturbing, creative, and original, combining slasher-style gore with supernatural forces in some very ingenious ways. And in the words of my 85-year-old grandfather who I saw the movie with, it was “very weird.”
The first half is rather slow and depressing. The elderly and estranged mother of Annie (Toni Collette) has just passed away, and the family is coping with their mixed emotions about that. Although there are inklings of horror here and there, the film does not get truly intense until someone dies a gruesome death. As a result, the family begins to unravel and act in increasingly strange ways.
Despite the dark subject matter, I found myself laughing on several occasions at the absurdity of certain scenes. Annie is an artist who creates miniature replicas of architecture, and in one scene she paints a replica of a violent car accident while her husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne) looks on in disbelief. Steve is the best part of the movie — he offers the dark hilarity of constant exasperation at his family’s antics, and he remains the pillar of sanity when both his wife and children begin to lose their minds.
In another scene, Annie tries to hold a seance, and claims that an invisible hand is drawing in a book, which he reacts to with utter bewilderment. His expressions and comments are simply priceless, and justify the movie’s ticket price.
One of the most tense scenes in the film is a family dinner where Annie, Steve and their son Peter are all trying to get along in the aftermath of tragedy. This erupts into a shouting match between Annie and Peter in which she screams at him, “All I get back is that fucking face on your face!”
Is this the best insult of 2018? At this point, I almost expected Xzibit from Pimp My Ride to come out and say, “We heard you like faces on your face…”
Jokes aside, this movie was indeed horrifying and only seemed to become more so as it neared the end. I have quite honestly never seen so many decapitated bodies or naked elderly people engaged in Satanic cult rituals in my life. So if you are not particularly fond of gore or nude senior citizens, this movie might not be for you, but if you think you can stomach those things, this movie is worth both your money and your time.