Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery
Length: 2h 7min
Premise: The members of a grieving family start to notice strange, ghastly happenings around their lives.
There are two common misconceptions regarding horror movies. The first one is the stereotype that the flicks in this genre are mindless and primitive by nature. The second one is that they are pretty easy to make. I wouldn’t exactly say that I’m a die-hard horror fan of any sort, but I won’t lie, when I watch a good one, my blood surely starts rushing through my veins. I lose my ground with reality, and I may not be someone who is easily scared, a well-executed psychological horror can give me the f.ckin creeps. Not to mention if it is technologically advanced. So here’s my rendezvous with Ari Aster’s feature debut, Hereditary.
Before I watched it, a few people told me that it is a quite interesting piece of a movie. Some told me that it is shocking, others said that they didn’t get the concept and waited for the scare in vain. These pocket reviews that I got from my conversations made it clear, that I have to watch the film and write a review about it. Let me clarify something before the fun part. Hereditary has undoubtedly the best acting I have ever seen in a horror movie. It is real, painfully real. Not one cheesy gesture or childish reflex. Pure “life” is happening in the acting department. Last time I saw a well-played grieving mother act was years ago in Lars von Trier’s Antichrist, so I was like a happy child on Christmas morning no matter how brutally this sounds.
The visuals. Oh, the visuals. Breathtaking and beautifully lit. I could find wonder in the symmetry, or even in the asymmetry of some scenes. The bright and warm colors make you feel safe just as long as the movie doesn’t drop you to the ice-cold blueness of death. First, I was wondering why do the effects in this movie seem so stunning and real. So I searched and found this:
“Ari wanted any effect that could be done practically to be done that way, instead of in post-production.”
“To make the chalkboard write on itself, the special effects team put a magnet in the chalk and put a magnet on the other side of the chalkboard to make the chalk move–it was very difficult to get a small magnet inside the chalk and make it write smoothly.”
“The special effects team had to learn how to do effects they’d never done before, such as making a candle light itself.”
Once again we can come to the realization that CGI is only for something that cannot be made physically. This is a way of creating that all directors should learn from Ari.
Some shots gave me the feeling of a creepy painting.:
The music and sounds. Well, music doesn’t really exist but the sounds are almost perfectly tailored for the feature. From the tension increaser effects to the absence of any, every scene gets the ambients it deserves. Let me highlight a scene that particularly captivated me. However, if you did not see the movie yet, beware of the…
On the night the girl is killed, the traumatized brother takes her headless corpse home in his car, leaves her on the back seat and goes up to his bed. We jump to the morning seeing his shocked face in the bed (hinting he didn’t get much of quality sleep). The camera is static, so we watch him for the whole part. Although, we can hear the mother’s conversation with the father. She doesn’t seem to know about the night’s incident, talking about going to the store. We can hear how she goes down for the car and opens the car door. We can hear her gasp and soon her nerve-wrecking scream. A long scream… We still see the guilty boy, now pinching in his pillow. Terrifying if you ask me. An invasion of aliens and an infinite horde of zombies won’t f.ck my mind up like this…
Of course, nothing is perfect. Hereditary raised the bar with its acting and cinematography while bringing us a shallow plot. A standard horror story with some intelligent art elements if you like. Now, don’t think about a standard as in like Friday the 13th standard. Think of an arthouse standard. This movie only didn’t make 9.0 because of this standard. I’m a believer of uniqueness and innovation, and these elements are missed by the plot. Anyway, Hereditary is a refreshing piece in the pot-pourri of the modern abominations cited as horror films, making a convincing future for the genre.
Similar Movies: The Others (2001), Antichrist (2009), Mother! (2017)
“You’re television incarnate, Diana: Indifferent to suffering; insensitive to joy.”