Hereditary ★★★★

I’m done. Just done for. I have no words. Sorry, just trying to gather myself because I just finished The Conjuring too and I had to sleep on this before I wrote anything, but can I just say Psychological Horror movies lately are bringing it — and I’m not even a horror fan typically. In fact Horror terrifies me to death. I wait years to watch most horror movies when it’s daylight or with other people — at least most modern horror, which is why I never watched this at Sundance with my coworkers like I probably should have at the premiere, granted I also had to work. ...but I definitely regret it.

This is nothing like I imagined and for me that’s mostly great. Why?, because it wasn’t as scary as everyone made it out to be. There’s no huge or numbered jump scares. No crazy ass demons popping up, etc., not even an extensive amount of gore. I know you’re like I’m tripping, so let me give you some context. I never did Horror rarely ever, the only ‘horror’ I can stomach usually is psychological in nature like The Omen or The Exorcist, Rosemary’s baby type films —as these don’t scare me really — or I can do straight gothic films like Frankenstein or Tim Burton stuff. Frankly, imo there not really Horror so much as terror/thriller films and for you kiddies that may not know long ago terror and horror used to be considered two separate genres both classified as Gothic (I read a lot).

Which is exactly what Hereditary is — a perfect Gothic picture. It’s a hot spring of escalating horrible and terrifying moments strung together that ultimately comes to a slow rolling boil, played out with finesse and to the greatest heights possible that a human being can probably stomach, it has primary gothic elements: the house, death, secrets, madness, and a dysfunctional family shrouded in darkness of the most abhorrent origins. 

This thing reeks of fear and mental instability, nauseating grief that is so penetrating realistic it made my  little burdened life of significant loss and struggle pale in comparison —like damn I thought I had it bad, Toni Collette’s character and family is trapped in an inescapable living hell. An Hereditary’s fear factor is a subliminally visceral experience that eats away at you and creeps deep into your psyche, with pain so gut wrenching you just want to say multiple Hail Mary’s ( whether you’re religious or not) and pray it will all end and get the f*** out of there and as far away a possible. (Don’t watch this while eating if you get queezy easily.) Also be warned this has creepy crawlies in force.  If you think Mother was some crazy s***, add this film to the list of reasons to go insane and cut a b****. My family has issues no doubt, but this is on a whole other despicable and twisted level of insanity. 

I mean to be that afraid... I feel like I’m gonna have a panic attack just thinking about it and that’s what makes this movie pop, not over the top gimmicks and scare tactics, but unsettling atmosphere of impending doom and the realization that your own family is out to get you at all costs: come hell or high water; that guilt is a purgatory that can eat you alive from the inside out; and worse that you can’t even tell if you’re actually losing your mind and it doesn’t matter anyway because the end is inevitable. 

And that end is the only thing that irks me a bit because it’s so bizarre and I didn’t see that shift coming at all. However, I read a HP article on why the scene works and it makes a little more sense now. However, I do kind of wish it ended differently or focused more on the mental illness aspects in the family, but that’s probably just my wishful thinking that this could end any other way.

The score is utterly frightening and the sound effects are perfectly placed for heightened effectiveness. I’ve never been afraid of clicking until now. The cinematography and lighting builds the perfect atmospheric tension and suspense and elegantly captures the family’s inner turmoil and tragic circumstances. While the script is nearly flawless and the acting is phenomenal. Especially the son’s performance and Toni Colette is just wicked good.
When all is said and done this is one fine piece of cinema. That delivered me two Toni’s in one day, a la double feature with Sixth Sense and that’s just unholy and sublime. While for some reason I always forget Colette’s Australian, but maybe that just means she so American and we love her so much and that we can’t think of her otherwise. Absolutely brilliant, on the level of Eggers Witch and Peele’s Get Out on mindf****** you. And now I want my mommy. Trust me you will too unless yours is a she-devil. 

No words can truly encapsulate this torturous and terrifying film, you just have to see it and feel it firsthand. It’s one hell of a transfiguration and I have been transformed mind, body, and soul —- God help me I’m gonna need tons of therapy after this. A must watch for all horror fans and psychological thriller fans alike and one of the best films of the decade.

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