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Hereditary - Film Review

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by Maggie Westbrook @writeoutwest (subscribe)
Maggie Westbrook @writeoutwest
Published June 7th 2018
Is Hereditary the scariest movie of the decade?
Image Credit: StudioCanal

It's another brilliantly portrayed troubled character by Toni Collette and an unprecedently appropriate musical score that sets the tone for a film, that is sure to leap to the top of its genre's canon. Hereditary is a horror movie, clever in its content, immense in its suspense, and quite horrific in its scare factor. Not a film I would normally pick for a child-free night out, but perhaps it has provoked me to step outside the normal cliche 'mum' films. I'll always take a careful ponder at doormats from this point onwards.

The storyline is excellent and the investment that writer/director Ari Aster puts into developing the Graham family, in particular, the mother, Annie (Collette), is most certainly the best part of the film and should be applauded. The first hour is knockout. Eerie opening scenes of a dollhouse, complete with the model miniatures that Annie makes as an artist, pan in and become a regular exchange in her son Peter's (Alex Wolff) bedroom, between him and his father Steve (Gabriel Byrne). Cinematography is on point. It's breathtaking and within 30 seconds of its commencement, we know this film is going to play on our minds; What is real? What is not? What is art? Is this normal? Gosh, they're like us a bit. "Gasp".

Speaking of the normal, there is a lot of normal in this film and we relate. It's confronting and adds to the mind games. Nut allergies, teenage boy lust, drugs, spousal white lies, the diabolical mother-in-law/mother figure, awkward dinner conversation…. It all adds to the suspense and the build-up of the film in its brilliant first half.

The film commences with the death of Annie's mother and the ways in which different family members are coping and reacting to her death. We learn that this tragedy most deeply affected Charlie (Milly Shapiro), the youngest child of Annie who shared a special connection with her Grandmother. When tragedy strikes the family again, we meet Joan (Ann Dowd), who persuades Annie to attend a seance. We all know a Joan, a delightful old lady on the surface with some skeletons in her closet.

From this moment on, the film becomes a little less 'normal' and a more nightmarish. Some very realistic prosthetics and deeply concerning mind games certainly keep the audience on the edge of their seats.

There is and will be lots said about this modern film, its storyline and its techniques. The most poignant for me and the thing I believe Aster most wanted to share with his audience, is that mental health and mental instability can be far more horrific than any amount of gore and special effects of days gone by. He's probably right, you know.

Perhaps not a movie for those amongst us that prefer to Pinterest royal icing techniques for most of the movie (yes, I was sitting next to her). One to book a night out for though, it was interesting for the most part, a new way of delivering horror, and the storytelling was right up my alley. Bravo.

Hereditary @studiocanalaus
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*Maggie Westbrook @writeoutwest was invited as a guest
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Your Comment
A well crafted review Maggie! Not one for me though 😱
by Joelz (score: 1|12) 259 days ago
In my opinion, a good idea done very badly. The whole thing was "schlock" from start to (ridiculous) finish and Toni Collett's acting - always bordering on irritating - was way over the top. Subtle is a word that has no place in her vocabulary. This could have been a great horror movie, instead it was just a horror!
by gypsy (score: 1|13) 255 days ago
Great review I as wondering just how scary this one was as a movie buff!
by Stace (score: 0|2) 253 days ago
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