As a horror movie fan, I think Hereditary is one of the best films I’ve seen in a while. Sure, A Quiet Place was good, even Get Out was amazing but for me there’s nothing quite like watching a good old, slow burn, moody classic like Hereditary. Not a lot of people are going to like it for sure since it’s not your typical Kwan-type blockbuster bait flick (no shade) but it’s going to stand the test of time as truly one of the great masterpieces of our time.
Here are 5 things I loved about this movie. *Contains Spoiler
1.) Toni Collette as Annie
Tonie Collette’s performance in this movie deserves some (a lot actually) recognition and though horror films doesn’t really get recognized as much in award giving bodies, I feel like this one definitely deserves an Oscar nod. Her portrayal of Annie is so raw and unnerving that you’re going to feel her slow descent into madness. It’s like watching your mom go crazy but there’s nothing you can do about it and that’s really frustrating.
As a viewer, you’re going to hate her at some point. She’s the unreliable protagonist in the movie and you’re not sure if you’re on her side or not. Her character is so polarizing that sometimes you’d want to blame her for all the fucked up things that’s happened and has been happening to their family but at same time you also sympathize with her as a grieving mother trying to cope with the loss of her daughter. You know she’s been through a lot after going through tragedy after tragedy, you can understand why she is that way or why she’s making these choices. Gabriel Byrne as Steve, her husband is a a polar opposite and great counter to her Annie. Where Annie is driven by pure, raw emotion, Steve is the more logical one who keeps the family stable despite all of what’s happening.
2.) The Sound Design
Sound can make or break a horror film and Hereditary definitely used its sound so effectively in order to create a certain mood that keeps building the tension throughout the film. It’s haunting that keeps you at the edge of your seat and your heartbeat racing.
3.) The Story
I’ve seen a lot of horror movies and Hereditary stands out as one of those films that will stick with me for a while. One of film I can compare it to is The Martyrs, where you thought the story is going in a certain direction then switches half way. An unsettling twist that you won’t see coming at all even if the signs were there all along. Hereditary is one movie that you’ll have to see at least twice in order to get a full grasp of what it all meant. Again, most people are going to be frustrated since this film isn’t about resorting to cheap scares at all. It’s not going to spoon feed you the things that make it scary, hence it will make you process what you see on screen and analyze these things until you get that holy-shit-I-didn’t-realized-that-moment which makes it even more frightening.
I’ve watched a couple of videos on Youtube explaining its ending and some of the things that I’ve missed and seriously there are so many hidden clues I didn’t notice at first to make the whole twist in the end worth it.
4.) The Kids
It’s really hard to unnerve me but Milly Shapiro as Charlie probably will haunt my dreams for a couple of days. Her portrayal in this film is so unsettling at times that it’s difficult to watch. The fact that she’s practically just another kid who happens to be a little weird and obsessed with eating chocolates and has a peanut allergy shouldn’t be scary on paper but everything about her in the film is irresistibly frightening that even if you don’t want to watch it you just can’t look away.
Alex Wolff as Peter is just sublime. From a stoner kid who accidentally kills his sister in a road mishap to a stoner kid whose slow descent into madness (like his mother) was excruciatingly sad to watch is one of the best parts of the film. The subtle and slow transformation of his character as King Paimon is probably one of the most disturbing and at the same time upsetting feelings in the world. On one hand you want to save him but on the other hand you know that there’s nothing you can do and that it’s almost inevitable what’s going to happen to him.
5.) The Twist
Yes! The twist at the end was something that I never really saw coming. I initially thought that this film would be about some mental illness that runs in the family. How Annie is experiencing dissociative disorders (DD) because of her previous episodes of sleepwalking (case point: trying to kill Peter and Charlie as kids without knowing it and later choking Peter in his sleep.) or the dad twist in the end ala The Shining’s Jack Torrance route.
I also thought that all of them are actually just crazy to begin with or became crazy after Charlie’s death. How one traumatic event can change a person and how this experience can lead someone into madness.
A lot of the people didn’t like how it ended but to me this is one of the best endings I’ve seen in a while. It’s so grim and so satisfying in the end. Of course, people won’t see this as a great end since it practically fulfilled Peter’s complete transformation into one of the King’s in Hell, Paimon but it also makes a lot of sense for the “ritual” to have worked in their cult’s favor. It’s not going to be a happy ending from the point of view of the viewers but it’s the most logical one. There’s really nothing that anyone can do prevent it anyway and by the symbolism of the miniature’s alone, it shows that everything that happened in their family has been manipulated by King Paimon and his occultists all along.