‘Hereditary’ Review

hereditary-poster-405x600Hereditary is a supernatural horror film written and directed by Ari Aster, in his feature directorial debut. The film stars Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Ann Dowd, and Gabriel Byrne, and follows a family that is haunted by a demonic spirit after the death of their secretive grandmother. Ari Aster does a decent job directing the film. He makes use of the entire screen, leaving certain objects and people out of focus to add to the horror element of the film. This causes the audience to become unsure of what they are looking at and wonder if it’s even really there or just a trick of the camera. Aster also makes good use of dim lighting and darkness in a way that allows viewers to see the important things. Toni Collette does a fine job as Annie Graham. Her character is portrayed as a loner even within her own family. She had issues with her mother for a long time and clearly has issues with her children. She is shown to deeply care about them but often doesn’t do the best job of communicating it. She tries to inflict her will upon them even though it’s clearly not the best idea. This is shown as a trait she unintentionally picked up from her mother. Alex Wolff does a fine job as Annie’s son, Peter. The tension between him and his mother are some of the best parts of the film, especially after a specific incident occurs around halfway through the film. When we find out the reason there is such a rift between them we can sympathize more with Peter. The standout of the film is Milly Shapiro who is Annie’s daughter, Charlie. The character comes off as very creepy and haunting even though she is just doing normal things. The way she stares at people is eerie, the way she consumes chocolate sounds annoying, and let’s not get started on her ticking sound. With that being said she’s not rude or disrespectful to her parents and just wants to be herself. She is probably the most relatable character in the film because she just enjoys being alone and making her dolls. Even after certain revelations are made about her character, she’s still a child and doesn’t understand what is truly happening around her. As for the negatives, the pacing of the film is a bit slow and feels like it drags on when certain scenes could have been trimmed or cut to make the story a little tighter. Some of the story elements do not make sense near the end. It almost feels as if Aster was trying to tie two different ideas together that unfortunately didn’t work out. This creates a few plot holes as to what/who the demonic spirit actually is and why the cult’s plan was not enacted sooner. Also, a little more backstory into Annie’s family would have helped as the little exposition that was given only made for more questions than answers. I give Hereditary a Solid 6/10. It’s a well-directed film for a story that’s only so-so.


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