I'm actually not the biggest fan of horror films. My primary reason: I'm a big baby who usually has trouble sleeping for days after watching a scary movie because I keep seeing eyes and ghosts in every dark corner of my room. But I'm also a huge movie fan. So, when I hear of a horror flick getting high praise from every major critic, my curiosity often beats out my fear and I have to take a look (even if I'm watching half the film through my fingers). I was pleased that "Hereditary" was worth the loss of sleep and hiding underneath the covers for a couple of nights.
It's worth the loss of sleep.
Reviewed By: Kyland Young
First things first, Toni Collette kills it! Not only with the delivery of her lines, but her stares, screams, and other wordless gestures all make you angry, sad, annoyed, frustrated, and/or on edge from start to finish. After enjoying his brief, but memorable screen time in the recent "Jumanji" movie, I had my doubts about how well Alex Wolff would fit in a film with such a serious tone. I was pleasantly surprised to find he fit perfectly! Young former Broadway starlet, Milly Shapiro had somewhat of a shorter role, but she has some serious acting chops that added so well to the creepy vibes in this story.
The difficult and tragic parent-child relationships shown in the film make you ask yourself what is and isn't acceptable behavior, especially when coping with extreme situations. Of course, it's hard to find positive morals in a film about demonic spirits, but I do give some extra points for not including the senseless killings seen in many other movies of this genre.
The score wasn't super memorable and there's almost no music played throughout the movie. However, silence, along with some creepy voices and a very particular mouth noise, are utilized to boost the audiences' level of fear during some of the scariest scenes.
"Hereditary" is a well-put-together mystery thriller as it is a well-put-together horror story. While many movies mix those genres, I've seen few films that do both well. The story finds that sweet spot of being complex, without being too confusing to follow along, creating many layers. It peels back each layer with precise timing that keeps it compelling until the very last minute.
Instead of the typical jump scares, there are subtle moments that slowly build up in ways that still make your skin crawl. The special effects and set design were great, but I was especially impressed (and scared) by the creative use of lighting in various scene - in particular, how they kept it dark enough to almost hide things, but still letting you see just enough to be freaked out!
Too often horror flicks rely on jump scares and/or gore to put people on edge, so it's beyond refreshing to have a scary movie's high-quality acting and story be its most standout features. Despite enjoying so many elements of this movie, I personally felt partially dissatisfied with some minor details I felt were left unresolved just as the credits started to roll.