I was super excited to see this film because the reviews and trailers made it look incredible. It looked truly terrifying and I’m beginning to love the rush you get from watching a scary film; so, I couldn’t wait for it to come out in cinema. Finally, upon it’s release, I made my way down to the first showing I could, filled with excitement and an undertone of fearful apprehension.
What is it about?
After the very difficult and mysterious matriarch of the Graham family dies; a terrifying sequence of events are set into motion that have irrevocable and previously unforeseen consequences on the family, as they discover long-hidden secrets of their hereditary.
What did I think?
This film was not what I expected at all (but in the very best way possible.) The plot was built up steadily and evoked a consistently eerie atmosphere that it doesn’t take long for to go terribly wrong. Normally, in a film when you think of a plot twist, you would think of a grievance or and adverse set of circumstances that the main protagonists have to overcome. In Hereditary, catastrophic disasters are a regular occurrence and grow in both their magnitude and frequency as the film develops. The last twenty minutes of this film were the most frantic and completely original moments of any I have ever seen. Aside from it’s completely bonkers and disastrous nature, it was also a very well made film. The cinematography was excellent. The cameras are often drawn out to give full, open portraits of a room, which drew parallels to looking upon the miniatures made by Toni Collette’s Annie. This conveyed the idea, which was clearly intentional in Ari Aster’s writing, that the protagonist’s are being controlled by “outside forces”, just as Annie exerts control over the settings in her miniatures, and that they are ultimately bound to the fate of their hereditary. Also, I liked the fact that it was an absorbing experience. For me to explain certain scenes in this film to those who haven’t seen it, would be completely pointless as they would just sound ridiculous. However, when you watch the events unfold, they flow completely succinctly into one another and create something quite fantastic. Finally, the acting was truly top class. Milly Shapiro and Alex Wolff were equally great but the undeniable star is Toni Collette (who I believe is a strong candidate for Best Leading Actress.)
About an hour into the film, I was set for this becoming my favourite film ever; however, it was just a little too long. The slow, suggestive build up, that worked perfectly in it’s favour to begin with, became a little too slow for about 20 minutes in the middle of the film. Although this is very small, and eventually insignificant in the scheme of things, it was enough to take it down from being my best film ever. Also, I would have liked a few more jump scares. The scares that were there were excellent and immediately frightening, but I just would have just loved a few more. (A particular scare that explains my point about not being able to convey the film’s messages without seeing it; was a particular scene with a water drop that nearly made me throw my drink on the floor.)
I was very impressed by this film. The further I get from my viewing the more my view that it was smart and interesting solidifies. It took me somewhere I hadn’t been before and has peaked my interest in new subjects prompting immediate research. I would encourage everyone to watch it; but, don’t expect it to be a passive experience.
My Rating- 8/10
My Top 3 of the Year:
1) Call Me by Your Name
2) Brokeback Mountain