I’m of two minds about this film. On the one hand I hated it. On the other hand, I really hated it. Not everyone feels this way, and I am in fact in the minority on my Horror List, where only one other person agreed with me. The professional critics loved Hereditary, too, a lot more – a LOT – than people who actually paid to see it.
I only had a bank receipt to take notes on as I sat in the tiniest theater in the complex, so I couldn’t go on at length as I would have preferred. The writing probably would have kept my fingers from drumming on the drink holder. (Yes, I really did that.) I was bored for most of the film, and by the time things finally heated up I just didn’t care anymore about any of the characters. There were somewhat subtle clues now and then that something more was going on than simply a tragic story about an odd family, but they didn’t make any sense so could have been left out.
The acting was nothing to write home about, except in The Most Obnoxious Child Character In A Film EVER category. This ranks up there with The Shining, and The Babadook. Kudos for that I guess. I looked up the young woman who plays the daughter and she seems pretty normal on the imdb which made me realize she was acting that weird and strange looking, making her the one actor doing a good job.
I could go on and on about Hereditary, describing in excruciating detail my likes and dislikes, like the screenwriter did in several long exposition scenes in the film – including at the very end. All of them did wonders for the pacing and making me feel the filmmakers think we’re all idiots. I expect as you read it you would sit and stare slackjawed at the screen for a very long time, much like the actors were made to do in lieu of reacting to events around them.
The filmmakers did a few vaguely interesting things, like cutting out the obnoxiously overbearing “We’re Going To SCARE You” music after a crucial death, and then returning it after another crucial scene.
There’s been some talk online about That Scene. It does set the movie apart from the pack in the sense that it’s brazen, even for a horror film. There was a gasp in the theater so I suppose it does work for some people, but I guess I’m a heartless old hag because it didn’t work for me. The sequence had a good, creepy setting, if you’ve never driven down a dark road at night before, smh, but it was cut together so awkwardly it lost power – even with the awesome sound effect that should have totally sold it.
The actors were the strongest point of this film, especially Alex Wolff, forced to play Head Master Of Slack Jawed Acting but still turned in a good film. He was funny in Jumanji, and horrified to the point of catatonia in a precipitous decline here. Toni Collette, who plays the mom, gives us a master class in Not Quite Sympathetic Character.
So, yeah, didn’t like it. If you’re a fan of this type of film (and I won’t say exactly what that is, because I feel it’s a spoiler) then I think you’ll love it. The people on my Horror List who did like it said things like they went multiple times, they liked it better after thinking about it a while once they left, the slow pace was good and the ending had a good payoff. I think the movie should be renamed Hereditary: YMMV.
Hereditary | Official Trailer HD | A24
CFR: In Addition: LOLOLOLOL!!! I remember when Mildred verbally told me she hated this movie. I assumed the review would be funny. Mildred did not disappoint.