“Hereditary”: Spooky Movies Day 7

Ari Aster’s directorial debut is show-stopping!


Hereditary Director Ari Aster with Tori Collette Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Jenaro DelPrete, Staff Writer/Social Media Manager

What can I say about 2018’s “Hereditary?” This psychological thriller is easily one of the craziest experiences I’ve had in a long time. Director Ari Aster gives his feature debut on this film and boy, was it worth his time. Toni Collette gives one of her best performances of all time and shows off her acting chops in light of her career back on the rise. Horror cinema was explored and taken to its limits in this new school rendition of the genre.

Let’s first start off with what this movie is NOT. This film is not for the faint of heart, it is not for those who are easily emotionally attached, it is not for people who are grieving a lost loved one. Right off the bat, we are dropped into the harrowing loss of the family’s mother, without knowing the context or even the character’s names. 

The opening scene is soul-crushing; I’ve never felt so claustrophobic and vulnerable while staring at a dollhouse in full view of the horrors to come. Truthfully, the cinematography in this is absolutely stellar. I haven’t seen anything this beautifully stunning in horror cinema since Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.” Big open shots and intimate close ups that make me feel so shocked and crushed. 

“Hereditary” is just a common family drama at the core of its horror. The family is bereft after the grandmother’s death and we just right in from there. Our main protagonist Annie (Toni Collette) is the mother of our other two protagonists: siblings Peter and Charlie, played by Alex Wolff and Milly Shapiro. Peter is disenfranchised from his mother, feeling unloved and abandoned by her. He and his younger sister Charlie are primarily in opposition much of the runtime they are together. 

To give you a quick snapshot of how horrific this movie can be, here is just an excerpt from one of the scenes: After being forced to take Charlie to a high school party, Peter leaves her unattended so he could go drink and smoke with his long time crush. Being left alone, Charlie eats some suspicious cake as she has nothing better to do. She has an allergic reaction to the cake–it had peanuts in it. After minutes of harrowing and deeply disturbing depictions of severe allergic reactions, Peter drives her to the nearby hospital. Unfortunately, they don’t make it that far…well, at least she doesn’t. Just watch it to check out your suspicions. 

This movie is deeply and aggressively disturbing. Premonitions of death, graphic violence, possession, and even realistic rotted corpses flood every shot. It truly is shocking and extremely difficult to watch, especially in the latter half of the film.

I can’t go into detail with how twisted the ending is, but let me tell you that you will not see it coming at all. The abrupt shock to the ending makes it all the better for a rewatch to pick out all the clues and foreshadowing hidden in plain view. 

Toni Collette and Alex Wolff are easily some of the most talented actors to be a part of horror cinema today. Collette demonstrates how a truly messed up mother would react in many situations perfectly and I love every second of it. I can’t take my eyes off of her. Wolff just gives me the heebie-geebies. I’m not sure why, but dang is he good at what he does. The way he plays a mentally distraught teen going through the worst grief in his life is just so captivating. I can’t even begin to explain how terrifyingly well done his performance is. 

I genuinely don’t have any gripes with this movie. Ari Aster’s first outing as a director is quite literally the new definition of a classic horror movie. Every shot of this film kept me on edge, every line of dialogue was just so truthful and faithful to the nature of the film. I can say without a doubt Chargers that this is a 10/10 Greenfields hands down. Definitely a top 10 horror movie for me y’all, happy haunting!

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the GENESIS staff. Reach Jenaro DelPrete at [email protected].