Hereditary Movie Review: Disturbing, then Disappointed

Hereditary: The Real Horror is The Movie Itself

Hereditary is a lovely example of a movie that envelopes the very best of the horror genre so masterfully, so effectively, that it ends up falling hard on its face while basking in its own radiance. The movie starts after the grandmother of a family dies, leaving each member with various reactions to it. As the movie progresses, strange things happen that may give insight to the many strange events. I’ll leave it at that to prevent spoilers as the movie’s first half sets up some things pretty early.

Alex Wolff does a fine job as a tortured teenager when he isn’t crying

A Terrifying Start

Speaking of the first half, this is the movie that I heard raving reviews about. Early on we get some subtle scares that affects you so much more than a jump scare. It uses silence and small scores to translate a constant stream of tenseness and uncomfortable dread, too often it goes nowhere though. The first half is a lovely reminder that horror is an art that transcends sudden loud noises after a silence.

The Cast

The characters, mainly the family were a treat to follow for different reasons. Gabriel Byrne as the father was a great straight man. He was the only normal guy in the movie but even he was almost too dismissive to some of the odd things going on in his house. The son, played by Alex Wolff, was great aside from him looking nothing like anyone in the family. He really captured the idea of someone being so disconnected through shock better than anything I’ve seen in a long time. Unfortunately, the boy main’s issue is, he skipped the class on how to cry in a non-comical way.

Milly Shapiro(adorable kid, off the set) is playing the iconic odd daughter. She is as creepy as the trailer hinted to, but was surprisingly sympathetic. She was given minimal lines, so while she didn’t have much to do, she provided one of the most effective scenes in the movie. Now Toni Collette was slightly underplayed in the trailers if you ask me. It’s such a disservice because I feel that she is literally acting her ass off the entire movie. She dances from frantic to miserable, to normal, to even likable (when speaking with her friends) back to miserable. She dances between so many levels and does them so believablely, that I was astonished at her dedication, it felt like her movie.

Collette is deserving of great praise for her performance in this movie.

Where Fear Turns to Fail

The last half of the movie… losses every sentiment of praise I afforded it before. Not only does it tend to lose most of the subtle horror that made it so scary, it double downs on all the horror tropes that either makes me raise my eyebrow or just laugh out loud. The movie swirls so far up its own ghastly ass, that not only did I become confused but rather annoyed. It attempts to clunkily piece all the small setups together at the end, failing to provide a satisfying climax. I dropped my jaw at what I felt at the end, was similar to watching an underground Illuminati propaganda commercial. It was that odd, that weird, that comical and overall, that bad.

Byrne did well as our avatar but had little to do.

Movie Do or Don’t

All in all, many critics have loved it, and I’m sure many will just tell me, “you don’t know real horror”! I can’t convince you, either way, all I can say is this a great half-movie and I want horror fans to see it, but it jumps the shark so hard, that I wonder which impact will stick with those I recommend it to more. At first, I was going to say see for the first half, but the movie just left me annoyed. The bad taste staggered in my mouth, because of that I will say don’t see it. Wait for a Redbox or OnDemand, then turn it off as soon as things start to feel like a different movie, you’ll know when.


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