Hereditary Review

Hereditary was released in June 2018. Its an American supernatural horror film written and directed by Ari Aster in his feature film debut. It was first screened at Sundance Film Festival on 21 January 2018.  I have two words to say — Toni Colette


Hereditary stars, of course, Toni Colette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro and Gabriel Byrne. Its the story of a family slowly being haunted and destroyed after the death of the children’s grandmother.

Hereditary is an interesting movie. People either loved it or hated it. A lot of people found the movie confusing, I myself did on first watch. A lot of reviewers said it had the same reaction as Mother. It is however very different from Mother. Hereditary, in my opinion, is a story about how grief manifests itself in different people who just happen to be in a horror movie setup.

The movie opens with the death of Toni Colette’s character’s mother. Toni Colette appears to be in denial and in short, slowly goes insane claiming her mother is haunting her family. This movie, is , simply, creepy. It does a very good job of creating an unsettling aura about the characters, which I feel is very lacking in today’s horror movies. All the characters seem to be affected by the death of this woman but none of them openly express themselves. I think that adds to the mystery of whether its a ghost or them just going crazy.

Milly Shapiro made her movie debut with this film. She has previously acted on stage, so my expectations were already high with her. I could not find any interviews about this, but I am guessing based on some other articles with speculations that Milly has cleidocranial dysplasia. I did look this up and it seems to be the same thing as Gaten Matarazzo from Stranger Things. She clearly looks different. I am not sure whether they accentuated it with make up for the movie or not. But much like A Quiet Place and Stranger Things (more for comedy), they use this to her advantage. I dont think people should be judged on their appearance, but in the movie, Milly’s condition definitely lends a certain creepiness to her character. And I am quite sure it was a major factor in casting her as Charlie. That coupled with the clicking sound you must have heard in the trailers make a very unsettling character. Right off the bat you tell yourself, hey just cause she looks different doesnt mean shes the ghost, but the movie does a great job of walking the line between making her scary but also innocent at the same time.

Alex Wolff plays Charlie’s older brother, Peter. In a movie with actors like Toni and Milly, Alex holds his own. His character slowly gets weaker and more scared as the movie progresses, making him the ideal victim in a horror movie. I only remembered him as the brother of Nat Wolff but after Jumanji and this, I think I have begun to really admire him as an actor and quite frankly, I look forward to his work more than Nat.

Gabriel Byrne plays the father of the family. I think he got overshadowed by all the other characters. In my book, he was the supporting character whereas the mother and the children were the main characters. Although, it can be interpreted as his way of grieving or his sort of muted reaction to the mother lashing out after the events in the movie. Maybe his character feels its not his place to say anything and just console his wife as she goes through losing her mother.

And Toni Colette. Damn. Her acting is -O-N–P-O-I-N-T. Oh no, I hope I didnt hype it too much. She is fantastic in the movie. Her shaky, weak, slowly going crazy demeanor is amazing at keeping you at the edge of your seat. Do you trust her, should you trust her? She plays the role of a mother desperate for her children but also at the same time hoping to get a break. Shes weakened by the events of the movie and does a great portrayal of a woman feeling lonely and broken despite being surrounded by family. Her expressions on screen, her demeanor and mannerisms. Shes found a new fan in me and I really hope the Oscars at least honour her with a nomination this year.

Hereditary is a great movie. Its heavy if you want to go into the emotions the characters go through. But its weak story wise. Theres not much thats going on. The story is actually not that different than other movies of its kind in the past. I can not tell you the details or the movie would be spoiled. Its definitely a character driven movie and I think the writers did a very good job of making it interesting. If you are a fan of horror, horror of any kind, you should definitely check it out.

Each rated out of 5

Please let me know what you thought of the movie in the comments below. Constructive criticism is always welcome.

Until next time.



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