Let me start off with this: In my opinion, “Hereditary” is one of the best “horror” movies of not only the year, but the whole decade.
Ari Aster, as both the writer and director, crafted a great family drama mixed with supernatural horror elements that perfectly molds around each character on the screen. It is hard to talk about the movie without giving away too many spoilers, but a short synopsis of the movie would say that this is a movie about a family that is trying to keep from falling apart after the passing of their slightly eccentric matriarch. Some have called this movie similar to the classic “The Poltergeist”, and it is, yet it feels even more personal and vulnerable as we follow the remaining 4 family members.
Speaking of the remaining members of the family, it is hard to pick a standout star as all members of the family gave amazing performances, but if I had to pick one, it would be leading lady Toni Collette. I am familiar with Miss Collette from her time playing Tara Gregson, a mother trying to raise a nice family while dealing with her multiple personalities due to her D.I.D., on her Showtime show “The United States of Tara”, alongside a teenage Brie Larson. I loved Toni on this show, yet a lot of people were not familiar with the great show and just how much Toni put on the table having to play 5 different personalities, with one even being a man named Buck. That brings me back to “Hereditary” which I now see is Toni’s best performance ever, in my opinion. She portrays Annie, with so much conviction it is almost scary at times. Whether she is being stone faced and brave, or completely falling apart, we can see and more importantly feel ever second of it.
Her other family members were all excellent as well, with Gabriel Byrne (“Vikings”, “The Usual Suspects”), Alex Wolff (“My Friend Dahmer” “Patriots Day”), and the feature film debuting Milly Shapiro all putting in memorable performances and having their individual time to grow and shine. Ari Aster didn’t rely on jump-scares or gratuitous gore to pass along a Hollywood horror movie, instead he used each of these actors/actresses to their fullest potential and made us relate to their dynamic and care about what happened to each of the members.
My only real gripe with this movie is that the ending was a tad confusing and convoluted, especially on the first viewing. It is definitely an ending that rewards a rewatch, as the last act of the movie starts to unravel at a somewhat rapid pace compared to the rest of the film, and as a lot of exposition and plot gets somewhat shoveled down our throats
All in all, this, along with “A Quiet Place”, the upcoming “The First Purge”, the “Halloween” sequel, and “Venom” it is looking to be a great year for the horror movie.