Last night I watched a psychological horror film by Ari Aster, called Hereditary. It’s being called 2018’s scariest film, and that’s not wrong. Although I was cracking occasional jokes at the movie night, I was terrified and captivated.
What confused and intrigued me so, was that the audience never learned the true meaning behind a lot of important storylines, such as the all-to-realistic dollhouses or the strange symbols that seem to be all over the home. This left the viewers to assume and infer and imagine what all of those clues could mean. These films take months to make, and there is so much detail that goes into them, a lot of which we might never even notice. It’s safe to say that the most insignificant seeming element, in reality, holds a lot of symbolism.
Throughout the course of the film, the audience experiences a wave of emotions. Feelings of pure adrenaline, discomfort, disgust, and panic. It’s a film that irks you, that makes you feel uncomfortable and wrong. It’s one of those that lingers with you.
Usually, with horror movies, you can predict where the action comes in based on the score when it picks up and deepens. However, last night, my friends and I screamed at the most unsuspecting parts. The adrenaline was insatiable.
The characters alone gave the story a depth that was not just conveyed through dialogue but by their features, their emotions. A few well-timed close-up shots of Peter (played by Alex Wolff) showed the anxiety and raw fear that he felt in every waking moment of his nightmarish life. (Side note: wow, Alex Wolff. Well done.)
At the end of Hereditary, my friends and I all exchanged theories, but, surprisingly enough, they were all pretty different. I think that’s what’s so brilliant about the film. There are so many little clues (or Easter Eggs) that are vital to the plot, some not even five minutes into the film. There was a disturbing smile from an unfamiliar man at the funeral and demonic scribbles on the walls. The best movies are the kinds you feel, that you dwell on. The kinds that make you think, “What if that happened to me” because it feels so real.
A24 Films, the entertainment company that produced the film, has been pumping out a lot of great flicks lately, so we should expect a lot of greatness coming from them in these coming years. They produced The Witch by Dave Eggers, back in 2016, which was fantastic. It’s one of my favorite horror movies of all time. I highly recommend it.
Anyways, Hereditary was as terrifying as it was magnificent. The cinematography, score, cast, plot…every aspect of the film, was very well executed. They made the audience feel exactly how they planned, and that’s what you want when making a film. You want the audience to see what you saw, to feel what you felt.
So to Ari Aster, A24 Films, and the team that produces the film…bravo.