Family is the thing that keeps most of us together but for some of us it’s the thing that can tear us apart. Some would even say that the sins of the parents become the sins of the children when they pass on. Both of these are just another way to get across the tremendous impact family can have and the role they play in our lives. In Ari Aster’s new film “Hereditary” the depths of the crimes that can be passed down are told through the most unhappiest of families in a way you soon won’t forget.
Annie (Toni Collette) has just lost her mother, but she is not taking it too hard. You see Annie and her mother were not close, but her daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro) had a special connection with her grandmother. While everything seems as normal as a death of a loved one, things start to go astray and eventually reach a tipping point when the family suffers another tragedy. Annie’s husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne) seems to be holding it together but their son Peter (Alex Wolf) is having a tough time, more for a past experience with his mother. Things really take a turn when Annie starts to go to a group meeting to help her deal with her grief. It is at one of those meeting when she meets Joan (Ann Dowd) who consoles her as she has lost someone as well. The two soon bond over their loss and when Joan discovers a way to deal with her grief, she convinces Annie to do the same at which point all things go off the rails.
For most films in this genre they have their way of making you grab the arm of the person next to you. From music cues to the good ol’ cat jumping out from just off camera. You know the kinds of things that scream that someone is not trying very hard. “Hereditary” does none of that, however you may still want someone next to you to grab on to nonetheless. Aster who not only wrote the film also is the man behind the camera and gives you something you won’t be able to shake both what you hear and see. There are few films for me that make me say “WTF!” and more than once those words came from my mouth as well as a time when the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and chills resonated down my spine. That previous sentence alone should make you want to see this film, just don’t see it alone or some stranger next to you might share in your terror with no one to hold.
Having the you-know-what scared out of you is not the only reason to see “Hereditary” as the main reason is it’s a great movie that will move you in ways that your average horror film can not. It’s the story that will grab you, but Collette’s performance will stick with you as she becomes an early favorite to have her named called during award season. This film had a lot of buzz behind it as I went in to it, it managed to exceeded all of my expectations and then some. Very few movies have left me feeling the way I feel about this one, this is a scary movie that is not particularly scary, but unsettling as hell, and is so worth a watch.