Friday, 28 December 2018

Hereditary ★★★★★

Just in time for the scariest month of the year, first-time director Ari Aster brings us one of the most unforgettable horrors to grace our screens in a long time. The beauty of this film is that it surpasses everything you’ve come to learn about horror films. It doesn’t rely on cheap jump scares and an over the top score to get your heart racing. Hereditary builds a scene that is so ordinary and parallel to our own that when things start to get spooky, it really hits home.

The beginning of the film appears to get off to a bit of a slow start, the death of grandmother Ellen sends the Graham family into a state of grief. Particularly startled by Ellen’s death is the youngest daughter Charlie. Now, it’s clear from the start that this kid is weird: if she’s not dismembering birds, she’s making the strangest sound that will haunt you for days. In an attempt to help Charlie fit in, her mother Annie convinces brother Peter to take her to a high school party and really it all goes downhill from there. I won’t disclose too many details, as this really is something you have to see with your own eyes, but long story short – Charlie never makes it home from the party. Following this, Annie joins a support group to help deal with her loss and it’s not long before she starts to discover the truth behind her mother’s past. Now, up until this point, I was sat there questioning where this film was going. Whilst the whole thing had an oddly tense feel, there was nothing particularly gripping that made me want to carry on watching. 

But, how bloody wrong was I. The safety net is quickly removed and leaves you falling into an uncomfortable world of terror. Annie meets with a friend from her bereavement group who explains to her how she has been contacting the dead through séances. Inspired by this, Annie holds her own séance in the hopes of contacting Charlie. I don’t really need to tell you that messing with the dead never ends well and that is very clear in Hereditary. It’s a quick descent from here on and the film picks up the fear factor considerably as Annie discovers what fearful beliefs she may just be in line to inherit. I spent the last half an hour or so watching from behind a pillow, this is shameful for me to admit as I consider myself quite the hardened horror viewer.  

One of the most enjoyable parts of this film for me was the symbolism. Everything was so carefully intertwined and relevant. Aster really succeeds in the fact that the film was that haunting that I didn’t want to watch it again, but it was so gripping and complex that I felt compelled to give it a second go so I could try and understand what I’d just seen.

I won’t lie about the fact that I had to do some research after the film had ended, so if you’re looking for a film that is an easy watch, this one might not be your best bet. However, if you’re looking for a clever and sophisticated horror that leaves you thinking, Hereditary fits the bill. 

Overall I’d say that Hereditary has quite rightfully earned the title as one of the scariest horrors ever made. Ari Aster has done a spectacular job of creating a false sense of security that lures you in, only to drop you into a whirlwind of weird. If you don’t watch any other horror film this Halloween, be sure to watch Hereditary. 


Georgia Hughes

Hereditary at CeX

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