Slow Burning Horror: Hereditary (2018)

If I had to describe the film Hereditary in two words it would be slow burning. This film was a lot to take in. It was heartbreaking and absolutely disturbing. It was scary but not in the traditional jump scare way. It’s scary in that it’s one that you think about long after it’s over, and the more you think about it, the scarier and more disturbing the whole thing becomes.

Now, I’m going to try to do this spoiler free, so bear with me.

Toni Collette gives the performance of a lifetime in this film. Without giving away too much, her scene following the death of a character is one of the more heartbreaking moments I’ve ever witnessed on film. I actually teared up in the movie, not only because of her reaction to the incident but also because the incident itself is one of the more horrifying moments of the film.

The camera work in this film is phenomenal. It’s very rigid and only uses a handful of tricks. It keeps the story heavy film visually interesting.

Now, I don’t think that this review will be very long, as I still haven’t fully grasped the film. It’s one that I need to see again to get all the little details and really piece this thing together. This film is one that I have sat for the last two hours thinking about, and the longer I think about certain scenes, the longer I think about the impact of certain events, the more disturbed I am by it. I keep trying to figure out why the film is called Hereditary and, so far, all I’ve been able to come up with is mental illness. Mental illness is a HUGE theme in the film. So, the title makes sense in that aspect. I just wonder if there’s another meaning for the film’s title. Maybe if I think on it longer or see the film again, I’ll figure it out. But, you know, maybe mental health isn’t even related to the title. Maybe the title is simply related to the fact that this entire story that we watch all happens within one family. Who knows.

All I do know is that the studio A24 has been absolutely killing it with movies within the last year or so. This movie is one to add to their collection of already phenomenal films, a lot of which happen to be about the human condition. They’re a studio to watch, and Ari Aster, the director and writer of Hereditary, proves that he is one to keep an eye on aftter watching this slow burning psychological/supernatural horror piece of greatness.

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