• Mr. Pat

Hereditary

Updated: Jul 19, 2021

The 295th review!


I like getting movie requests from people when I do this because it can be hard finding interesting movies 31 days in a row. It helps expand my horizons and opens me up to something I may have overlooked. For the past few years there’s that one people kept recommending but I never got around to seeing. I’ve had so many friends tell me how scary it was so I was extremely excited to check out...


Hereditary (2018). Amazon Prime


The movie kicks off with a funeral for an older woman, and judging by the eulogy given by her daughter, she doesn’t seem like she’s going to be missed all that much. We follow around the family a bit and learn a tiny pieces of information about them. The mother, Annie, is a miniatures artist, the husband Steve, well they don’t dwell too much on what he does, but he does spend the runtime trying to keep everyone sane, the 16-year old son Peter who likes weed and finally the 13-year old daughter Charlie, who likes to make a clicking sound and make everyone feel uncomfortable every second she’s on screen.


This is a light spoiler, but if you’ve seen a horror meme or two, you know what happens to Charlie and it’s terribly sad, her death his the family and you, the viewer, pretty hard. My hands immediately went to my eyes when it happened. Anyways, the mother does not take it well and we’re treated to the next half hour of growing tension in the family. All of them are feeling the pain of loss and are processing it in very different ways and none of them feel like they can talk to each other. We just slowly start to see their grief overcome them until they’re just shells waiting for a burst of emotions to bust through. It’s really sad and acted wonderfully.


Shortly before the death of Charlie, Annie had befriended a woman after going to a grief counseling center, lying to her husband that she’s going to the movies. While there, we learn about her family’s rough history with mental illness. Eventually the friend, Joane, takes Annie back to her place where they have a seance involving Joane’s grandson and gives Annie the tools to do one herself in the hopes of brining Charlie’s spirit back. Unfortunately, that doesn’t go well.


Many reviews called it “the scariest movie of 2018” and some even going so far as to say it was one of the scariest they’ve ever seen... and... well, I don’t know what they were watching, because, to me, it’s not scary. There are a few scary moments that are chilling and effective but they’re so few and far between and with such a loooong gap with nothing happening it always lets you calm back down and have 30 minutes before the next scare. Even the climax, is just a still-boring rehash of The Witch but set in modern times. It’s just people walking and talking making silly faces. It’s supposed to fill you with dread of, “What just got unleashed on the world?” But, meh, unless people are going to get weirded or annoyed to death.


I do think it’s a good movie though, just not a good horror movie. As a story about pain and loss it’s pretty fantastic. These characters lose so much; family members, their trust, their sanity and even their heads! I was much more interested watching them slowly lose their minds over their guilt and suffering than I was for the “horror” aspect of the movie. Toni Collette is so good in the role. When she’s in agony, she makes you feel it. There’s nothing appealing about her cries after the death of Charlie, it’s raw and you feel the same powerlessness her husband is feeling as he tries to console her. That and when she starts cracking, the little disgusted looks she gives those around her are fantastic.


Her husband Steve, played by Gabriel Byrne, is the straight man in the family. He’s doing his best to keep them all together and to not kill each other, but he’s fighting a losing battle and it’s taking a toll on him as well. Normally I don’t like movies where it’s people bickering back and forth the whole time, because when it’s over, I feel like I’ve been in a fight and it’s exhausting, but the way it’s shot and the relationships between these pained characters is really good.


But as a horror movie, it falls flat. I’m terrible at guessing what’s going to happen at the end of movies, unlike my dad who is always getting them right, it’s probably why I enjoy movies so much and hate spoilers because I’m able to get taken for a ride by filmmakers and it’s more fun that way. But I was able to put together what one character was up to, even if it made no sense from them to meet the way they did.


This movie was built up so much on websites that I peruse, it currently has an 89% critic rating where people were falling all over themselves to praise it. Then I look at the audience score and it’s at 67% and I can really understand the disconnect. All the technical stuff, this movie has it in spades. It has great acting, a whole lot of artsy shots and the soundtrack works really well. But those things are like sprinkles on a cake, they enhance it, but they won’t get me to enjoy eating it if the rest isn’t good.


I wanted to like this movie, trust me, I really did. I love being scared when watching movies and was fully expecting to be. The one time I felt actually frightened involved a character trying to get into the attic, but other than that... there really wasn’t anything. Even with the ending it’s hard to tell what even the stakes were. Is this a worldwide threat? Should everyone prepare to be terrified or slightly more annoyed than usual? I’m not sure and the movie didn’t do enough to explain or get me to care. Watching so many horror movies of varying quality, you put up with a lot, just don’t be boring. All it has to do is keep me engaged enough to stop me from picking up my phone and this one couldn’t do it. I realize this is probably going to be an upopular opinion but based on its merits as a horror movie...


4 Dr. Chainsaws

Hereditary - Amazon Prime

IMDb 7.3

2h 7min

2018

A grieving family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences.

Directors Ari Aster

Starring Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro

Genres

Horror

Subtitles English [CC]

Audio languages English, English [Audio Description]


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