Hereditary follows Annie, a grieving woman who has just lost a mother who made her life hell while trying to keep her family life together. Annie, her husband Steve and her two children Peter and Charlie are feeling the pain of the loss, but strange things are making Annie question her own mind. First she is creeped out by a figuring of her mother which she had made, then Charlie’s strange behavior and her deep routed fear of her son. If getting over her mother’s death isn’t bad enough another brutal death causes Annie to fall deeper into the darkness, and that is when she meets Joan, a woman from her grieving meetings. Joan introduces her to a way to contact the dead, and as you know this kind of shit doesn’t end well.
Hereditary started very well, It is a story of loss, depression and schizophrenia which gives all of the creepy goings ons a well routed source, it is just the mind of a very disturbed woman but with a lot of films very similar to this we are given an Art House Horror style of film which would rather go down the route of crazy, disturbing and bat shit crazy which could have been avoided for a more substantial ending and final act. The final act ruined this film for me, what happened to the heart wrench you fell during the second death? Well it is replaced with a bullshit evil cult just like Kill List did but the difference between this film and the amazing Kill List is that Kill List did it all better.
This film is nothing new, we have seen a lot of films like this in the last ten years. From Kill List to Anti-Christ to Honeymoon the Art House Horror sub-genre will always go for this style, and while this will turn a lot of horror fans on it just wasn’t really for me. To be honest is was getting Babadook vibes at the start of this film and I was very much into a story about a mind going crazy, it was an interesting plot line but you didn’t need an ancient cult, possession and a demon king.
For me the acting in Hereditary was the strongest part of the film. Toni Collette took Annie to very dark places, the story her character tells Joan about sleepwalking and dousing he two children in paint thinner and waking up as she struck the match was powerfully fucked up. Even the looks of disdain and hurt to her son is so perfect. Gabriel Byrne was however my 5 star actor in the film, playing the hurt and the pained father and husband who is not only dealing dealing with the two losses but also having to watch as his family crumbles around him, damn his character had to go through some shit throughout the whole film.
Hereditary is a victim of it’s own storytelling. When you try to hard to make a film out there as this film does you will sometimes ruin a better film you had in the start. This film would have worked so much better as a story of a family dealing with schizophrenia and the loss of loved ones and their slow decline into madness, you didn’t need to have a demon cult, possession and all the gubbins you have here. The acting saves it, the powerful moments are VERY hard to watch and as a whole I can see a certain portion of the horror community loving this. It is definitely worth seeing this at the cinema, it is always great to support the genre, however go in expecting some hard hitting moments.