'Hereditary' - Movie Review

A Dramatic Mind Trip of a Horror Film

Milly Shapiro in Hereditary [Credit: A24]

Movies like Hereditary don’t come around often enough, and that’s sadly due to the fact that audiences usually don’t flock out to see films that look abstract. Horror films have been on a very big high over the last few years, giving us thrilling films like Get Out or Don’t Breathe, or more recently, the fantastic movie A Quiet Place. The latest wide release in this genre comes in the form of A24’s Hereditary. This studio is known for releasing superb content but mostly goes under the radar. While this film surely isn’t for everyone, the sheer originality behind it makes it well worth seeing in theatres. From its atmosphere to its creepy imagery, to the downright unnerving performances, here’s why Heredity should be on your list of thrillers/horrors to see.

The plot of this film itself is a spoiler, so I’m going to dance around that a bit here. The Grandmother of the Graham family has passed away and they’re slowly trying to recover from that tragic event when surprises and secrets about their lineage come to light. That’s about as simple as the plot can be put without having seen the film. The originality of the film comes in the form of the premise that has to be undisclosed until you see the film for yourself. I thought I knew what this film was going to be like when watching the trailers, but trust me when I say it’s not and you’re either going to love or hate the routes that this movie takes.

For a film like this that relies so heavily on a family aspect, the performances need to be top notch in order to hold my interest. Toni Collette has been an actress that I’ve kept my eye on over the years, as I was positive she would eventually blow me away. Hereditary is absolutely that performance in my opinion. Yes, Milly Shapiro is great and Alex Wolff has his moments, but Collette acts circles around everyone throughout this film. She brought me to tears, had me gasping for air when she was monologuing, and frankly had my jaw on the floor with how realistic her performance was from beginning to end. Never breaking characters and truly making me believe I was watching a troubled mother, she sucked me right into the atmosphere of the movie.

I’ve been hearing nothing but praise for this movie and while it definitely deserves to be talked about, I definitely had some issues with it. At times it does feel like a generic horror flick in the way that it presents certain spiritual elements or supernatural storylines, but if you can suspend your disbelief or just happen to believe in certain things, then you may be fine. I was easily able to attach myself to what was happening, but it felt like a tonal shift at times. On top of that, this movie asks a lot of you throughout the final act, which I absolutely loved, but I didn’t feel quite satisfied. There is a lot of effort put into this film in terms of its cinematography and dark themes (which I have to commend), but I find myself continuously questioning certain things long after my viewing of the film. Normally I would love that, but the more I think about it just makes me wish for a slightly different ending. 

Hereditary is a very ambitious movie in the way that the story continues to surprise you and I personally loved watching every second of it, but looking back on the movie as a whole, I just find myself wondering if I’ll ever want to watch it again. There are some very disturbing images spread throughout the film and I genuinely had goosebumps on multiple occasions, but where the film ends up throughout the conclusion left me slightly unsatisfied. This is a fantastically constructed film from start to finish, but it’s not for everyone and I can see many people finding aspects of this film humorous if they’re not buying into it. For myself, it’s a great movie that deserves to be seen, but be ready for gruesome images, supernatural turns, and some bizarre and surprising moments.

Rating: 4/5 

Now Reading
'Hereditary' - Movie Review
Read Next
The Shattered Mirrors