Hereditary: Evil Runs in The Family

Film Review

Hereditary: Evil Runs in The Family

    Hereditary is a 2018 horror film, but it is not a conventional horror film. It’s in the vein of other A24 horror films like The VVitch (2015), in which the horror is slowly built-up. It is a success in just about every regard of the word “horror”, as it starts out slightly eerie and ends much more crazily. Watching it in the cinema all alone was quite a treat. The film is a slow-burn style thriller in the best way possible.

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    The film tells the story of a family that has just lost someone important to them, and the mom, Annie (played by Toni Collette), doesn’t know how to react to the death of her mother, as they weren’t really close. Things take a sharp turn when their daughter, Charlie, also winds up dying. As the film progresses, it becomes more evident that something is afoul with the introduction of person named Joan (played by Anne Dowd). Joan is a member of Annie’s support group, whom also lost her son and grandson, and claims she knows how to communicate with the dead. This leads Annie and her family to discover and unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their past.

    Much of the concept of grief plays a big part in this film, not just with Collette’s character, but also the fact that she’s a sleepwalker and has a bad relationship with her son, Steve (played by Alex Wolff). Steve is struggling with the loss of Charlie, and the dad, Gabriel Byrne, is trying to keep things under control. The actors are all great at playing their parts. Collette is fantastic as the worried mother who progressively loses her mind. While Gabriel Byrne plays the concerned father and acts like his wife’s claims are a bunch of nonsense. In many ways, he’s the film audience’s “surrogate”. Alex Wolff is surprisingly good as the son, too. Having to cry a lot, due to his grief over the death of his sister, makes you feel for his character. Also, if this film has taught me anything, it’s that if I ever ran into Ann Dowd on the street, I’d get away as far as possible. She’s that scary.

    Much of the terror of the film comes from the subtlety. There are a lot of things going on in the background that help make the film as effective as it is. At first glance, it doesn’t seem that creepy. It’s just a depressing film involving a family, but with the chilling sound effects and music playing in the background, you can tell something’s wrong. The constant glares, the different lighting, the cinematography, and the clicking effect, all work to give this film a creepy vibe. This is an intelligent horror film that respects its audience, and I respect it for that.

    If you’re a fan of movies, like Rosemary’s Baby (1968), or Don’t Look Now (1973), then this film is absolutely for you. I really enjoyed it. It’s an intelligent horror film that has some incredible imagery, great performances, an excellent set-up and pay-off. It’s a great film, that deserves to be seen on the big screen. It may not be for everyone, but it certainly will get you talking.

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