FIRST LOOK: A Creeper Named "Hereditary" Keeps You Cringing in Disgust

Updated 1 year ago by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
FIRST LOOK: A Creeper Named "Hereditary" Keeps You Cringing in Disgust

Few horror movies deliver consistent shivers and chattering teeth. "Hereditary" tests your stamina more than "Paranormal Activity" but not on par (despite a few reminiscent scenes) with "The Exorcist." 

Annie Graham (Toni Collette, "About a Boy," "Muriels Wedding," "xxx Return of Xander Cage") faces the hideous task presiding over the death of the matriarch of the family. Her eulogy contains words stronger than "difficult," and the requisite sweet, warm and incredibly stubborn conjectures,  but it does not adequately acknowledge the ritualistic secrets of mom.

First time writer /director Ari Aster welds more than a handful of visually deranged  tricks to supplement an already overflowing jar of unholy, emotionally torturous, atmospheric dread. His opening mixes the unsettling orientation to miniature art, an aged , cluttered home revealed through a window that emphasizes a buzzing fly, and a collection of a child's dolls. Later, sharp eyed-viewers will observe criss-crossing apparitions and additional atrocities.

Disheveled Anne calls out to her son Peter (Alex Wolff) , "Did Charley (Milly Shapiro ) sleep in her room last night" foreshadowing troubling characteristics of the young girl. 

Anne's husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne) struggles to be a supporting father and husband. His selectively enforced no shoe housekeeping reminder at the house by the woods seems an oddity, especially considering its non-pristine interior. I would not want my feet or socks to touch these floors. Watch for rebellious Charley react to his admonition in one scene.

FIRST LOOK: A Creeper Named "Hereditary" Keeps You Cringing in Disgust

Encroaching slowly into supernatural realms, viewers have the option of assigning mounds of multiple DSM-IV disorders (the whole book?) before the fiery Hades origins override 12-step grief recovery groups. 

Ms. Collette's simmering grief responses melds the film even when leaps of faith are required. 

The actress told The Wrap, "“I love the ambiguity of not quite knowing where she’s at, of not knowing whether she is really losing it — because she does have a history of psychotic episodes and she’s experienced some very dark times — or, if she’s finding the truth.” 

She reveals multiple studio rejection due to the depiction of an unhappy, which she compares to the Oscar winning  "Ordinary People."

“Even though it’s extreme, most people can feel how familiar that is on some level. I think at that point my character may seem despicable, but she’s living with such a huge mount of pain. When people are so consumed … it’s very difficult to see beyond yourself because you’re trying to survive. There is a very real and very large amount of rage within her. He just pushed the button and the wrong moment,” Collette said to the Wrap.

FIRST LOOK: A Creeper Named "Hereditary" Keeps You Cringing in Disgust

Reviewers have mostly delved high praise upon "Hereditary" defining it as a "raw horror masterpiece." Director Aster and cinematographer Pawel Pogorzelski deserve the highest of marks for as the Village Voice accurately attests, "lingering  in the shadows of a creaky, sullen woodside home, covering our mouths as we face our certainty about what will become of these people."

Prepare for visual gross-outs and audio descriptions thereof. They fall into essential (not gratuitous) shocks and a few are intentionally subtle. 

When filmmakers invoke supernatural worlds , they often hedge their bets, allowing alternatives. Like the best of the genre, this one starts with the psychological and leads directly into pits of hell as the only explanation. 

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