Things start getting weird for the Grahams, after the death of Annie’s (Toni Colette) mother Helen. The first person to sense the eeriness is Annie’s daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro) who starts witnessing her grandmother at various places arbitrarily.
What’s wrong with Charlie? Why has everything become so uncanny after Helen’s death? How will this affect Charlie and the whole family?
Positive Points: –
- Toni Collette and Alex Wolff’s performances. Though every principal cast member has delivered justifiably, these two literally carry the film completely and ably on their backs.
- Ari Aster’s direction.
- The growth and degradation of different characters over time has been shown fantastically.
- Pawel Pogorzelski’s cinematography and Colin Stetson’s score intensify the tension induced by the film.
Negative Points: –
- Hereditary promises a lot of scary moments but seldom capitalises on them except a couple of scenes towards the end.
- It’s good to leave the audience guessing with a few elements in a story but this flick hardly explains anything at all. The characters have their depths but the plot itself feels hollow many a times.
- The screenplay or let’s say the entire film can be divided into two completely different halves. The first half is an emotional narrative focusing on the loss of a loved one whereas the second half takes a supernatural-horror kind of turn. While both are independently good, their synergy was pretty bad.
Direction, Screenplay & Other Technicalities: –
Hereditary stands strong in most of its filmmaking aspects, be it direction, basic storyline, acting and its technicalities. Ari Aster’s screenplay is character based and she has built almost all of them satisfactorily (except that of Gabriel Byrne). The degradation of each of the principal characters has been slowly carried out without disturbing the riveting nature of the film. The conflict between Collete’s and Wolff’s characters has been the centre point of the film and its amalgamation with all the horror and supernatural elements has been spot on. Even as the director, Aster has focused on very minute things which can be discerned only on careful observations. Adding to his favour are the film’s camera work and the background score which escalates the eeriness of the movie’s ambience.
Though a horror flick, Hereditary scarcely scares its viewers despite having many opportunities of being frightening. It progresses initially as a tale of loss and grief and then suddenly shifts to some unearthly and spectral kind of narrative which has nothing new to present. In my humble opinion, Aster should have proceeded either way instead of putting both of them together into the storyline. Adding to the pain is the lack of explanation of things, not only in terms of solutions of the mysteries but a basic ideation of the facts on which the plot is founded upon.
Toni Colette is the best performer of the film, hands down. Her character gets every room to express her emotions and conflicts, and she just ameliorates its cinematic experience with her stellar act.
Alex Wolff gets a character who is struggling with his own inner conflicts while dealing with the brutal realities of life and he has presented his character’s implosions and regrets sublimely.
Even in her small screentime, Milly Shapiro creates a lasting impact on the audience. Gabriel Byrne portrays a sombre father pretty well though putting his character on the backseat, and that too with an actor of his calibre was something that didn’t go well with me.
Final Verdict: –
There’s no doubt that Hereditary is an excellent piece of work but it may not appeal to everyone. It’s strong on many fronts especially in its direction and acting which highlight the uneasiness of the premise pretty well. However, if you are looking for something really horrifying, it might leave you disappointed.