Hereditary is the latest horror film to come out, directed by first-time full lenght feature director Ari Aster, and Aster does a great job creating a tone/mood of this movie that is distinctly scary. There are legitimately multiple moments in this movie that completely creeped me out.
The film starts out with the death of Annie’s (Toni Collette) mother. They had an estranged relationship for years because of a history of issues between them. Unfortunately, after the death, Annie begins to have problems, hearing things and sleepwalking, which lead to question about what was happening.
I don’t want to go into too much details because of spoilers, but I can say that the cast of this movie was brilliant. Lots of people have been pointing out Toni Collette’s performance as one of the best performances so far this year, and that is most definitely correct, but her performance would not be as strong if she did not have the equally wondrous work of Alex Wolff, who plays her son Peter. Wolff is outstanding here and brings a level of emotion and anxiety unlike we have ever seen from him.
We also have great performances from Milly Shapiro, who plays Collette’s daughter Charlie, and Gabriel Byrne who is the father of this family. The cast does a ton of heavy lifting in this story, and stand out among any aspect of Hereditary.
The film does start pretty slowly, but it was necessary to do it that way. The early part of the film does feel poorly paced, but it does pick up as the film progressed so that when that first major shocking event takes place, the film is in high gear the rest of the way.
I was fully engaged in the film and the horrific scenes were shocking and disturbing. The film was becoming a classic horror movie with some really scary moments that were sticking with me.
Then, the ending. Without spoiling anything, I have to say that I really disliked the end of this movie. The final five-ten minutes changed my perception of the entire film. At one point, I was thinking that they were going one way, but, instead, they chose a path that I found too cliche and disappointing. While the ending may not have completely ruined what had come before, I was severely disappointed with how they chose to end this film that had been so well done up until that point.
So this film is a really great film, but I do not agree with the hyperbole that I have heard that this movie is this generation’s Exorcist. The ending just does not allow it to step up to that mantel, though it was definitely on the way to that for much of the film. Toni Collette is undeniably brilliant with her role and she is equally matched by young Alex Wolff.