I have no doubt that in 20 years this will be remembered as one of the “classic” horror movies. Right up there with The Exorcist, The Shining, and Halloween. This is, quite possibly, a masterpiece.
Hereditary follows a family who is suffering from a loss of a loved one. Soon after, strange events start to occur and the family uncovers an extremely dark and terrifying family secret.
As I’ve said before, the horror genre is on the upswing in recent years, and Hereditary ups the ante. Not only is this movie terrifying, but it is extremely well made. The directing and how the movie is shot is fantastic. Between all the tracking shots, and the way everything in each frame has a purpose, it is easily one of the finest crafted horror movies ever. The director takes you on an incredible journey through a dense (in a good way) and fascinating story and it makes it so much easier to follow given the way it is shot. The one thing that might be even better than the directing is the acting. Everyone in this movie is great, from Milly Shapiro (who plays the daughter) and Alex Wolff (who plays the teenage son), to Gabriel Byrne and an Oscar- worthy Toni Collette who play the parents. Collette’s portrayal of a woman falling deeper and deeper into grief and madness is brilliant.
But how many people go to a horror movie for the acting and directing? The real question is how scary is it? The answer: very scary. It isn’t as “in your face” scary as some of my other recent favorites, like It and The Conjuring which, while great, also have a bunch of jump scares. This one is more focused on getting under your skin and scaring you psychologically. It also scares you by what it shows (or doesn’t show) in the background of shots. It is very reminiscent of how horror movies use to be made, before teenagers got bored and wanted to see things that made them jump every 30 seconds. It’s refreshing, yet terrifying to watch. You’ll be remembering certain scenes when you turn off the light at night after seeing this.
I don’t really have anything negative to say. I highly recommend Hereditary. It has a lot to offer. If you want a good story that takes some unexpected turns, you have it here. If you just want the crap scared out of you, you have that too. I may be suffering from a touch of recency bias, but I think it might be the best horror movie since The Shining and is probably the best movie of the year so far.I haven’t given a movie a 5 in a long time, but Hereditary earns a 5/5 from me.