Film Review: Hereditary (2018)

Hereditary (2018) is a horror indie film from A24. Directed by debut Ari Aster and starring Toni Collette and Alex Wolff, the film focuses on a family as they cope with the death of their grandmother. trouble ensues when family pasts come back to haunt them.

There has never been a film more divided than Hereditary. This is the mother! of 2018 (a film I admittedly haven’t seen yet). Some people absolutely love this film, what it is trying to say and how the film is structured and shot. However, some people find this to be terrible, incredibly slow-paced and with no pay-off at the end. It seems like you either have to love or hate this film.

Film Review: Hereditary (2018)
Source: A24
So, what side am I on for this film? Well, by no means is this film “the next Exorcist” that some people are claiming it to be. However, I am definitely in love with Hereditary. As a fan of both the horror genre and independent filmmaking style, to see both mixed together and work so well makes me incredibly happy. It is also great to see a film like this do so well in the box office, given that this is a film from A24.
It is rare that a film campaign does this well. The most recent example actually comes from another horror film, A Quiet Place. The campaign did a fantastic job of getting people intrigued about the film, whilst not giving away too much to draw audiences away from the project. The insane reviews helped push this to a wide release, which is one of the best results ever for A24.
The reason this film works so well comes down to the director, Ari Aster. This is a man that knows all the technical aspects of directing a film, and it shows in this film. This film is worthy of winning several technical directors, especially cinematography. The visuals are absolutely stunning, and supported by the imagery portrayed on the camera. The great aspect of this is that sometimes there will be something in a shot that is out of place, and then it will take a while for your eyes to adjust to the image. But once you see it, it’s haunting.
Film Review: Hereditary (2018)
Source: A24

The cast of this film is absolutely spectacular. Toni Collette gives the performance of a lifetime, and plays such a critical character with many layers. Whilst she may be flawed and twisted, you still feel sympathy for her given all of the circumstances. Alex Wolff also steps forward and actually takes a lead role in this film, giving a sophisticated performance which is beautiful to watch. Yes, he is very dramatic, but it never turned me off and actually felt real and gritty to me.

This is the cinematic debut for Milly Shapiro, and she gives an incredible first performance. Her role is haunting, and there are several moments from her that will leave you scarred. It is safe to say that she has a bright future ahead of her.

The pacing is unsuspected, but in a way it works. You think that due to the genre, it would be a complete slow burn. However, it builds up to a moment in the first part, causes the incident to happen, and then continues to a slow burn. This leads to tension which is incredibly unsettling, and leaves you hanging on when drama will fully blow.

Film Review: Hereditary (2018)
Source: A24

I did have an issue with the ending, in which it just presented the definitive, actual ending. The whole film lets you interpret things as you wish, yet the ending takes all of that away from you. This can be seen as a good thing for some people, but part of me wishes that it could have been up to slight interpretation. I also had a problem with the whole supernatural presence, but that is once again down to personal preference.

This is going to be a film that will be studied in film classes to this day. With the brilliant examples of cinematography, screen writing and acting in Hereditary, this is a perfect example of a well-made horror film. I am rarely creeped out by films, but this one left me at the edge of my seat. With this and A Quiet Place (review of that here), 2018 is shaping up to be a fantastic year for horror.


Have you seen Hereditary yet? Do you love it like me, or do you hate it? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time, that was some film for thought.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s