Hereditary ★★★★½

It's not that I didn't like this first time round, I did. It just didn't wow me the way I expected it too. I blame the unending amount of hype this was getting from the moment it hit the festival circuit. Whether deserving of it or not, trying to learn as little about it as possible but unable to avoid all the hyperbole hailing it as the scariest horror film of all time meant that when I finally sat down to watch it, my expectations were at such an unreasonable level that I expected to have my life changed without really needing to engage with it. It didn't help that this has a very strange mix of tones and a plot that is quite cryptic, but actually littered with clues when watched a second time round.
Seeing it again was a totally different experience. The mix of darkly comic, Todd Solondz styled, fucked up family drama and well researched occultist horror works really well. It's weird for sure but the more believable the drama, the easier it is to get on board with the supernatural happenings. There are some wonderfully observed moments dealing with grief and trauma that work so well with the mounting tension of what's to come. It's so deliciously bleak!
This mood is constant and builds, and builds, delivering some truly terrifying imagery by the end when it goes full on horror show. Helped in large part by Toni Collette's committed performance, this is a career best from her.
Sat home alone watching this gave me genuine chills, which are few and far between these days, so all the more surprising when they come. Even when the film had finished, that heavy dread lingered. A sure sign of a great film.

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