Hereditary Review

June 13, 2018 By Southpoint Tuggeranong

As a hardened horror aficionado, there’s not a lot that unnerves me. Though Hereditary is touted as a horror, the feeling you’re left with as you leave the cinema is far from scared. It’s the building sense of dread that stays with you as you try to retell the plot to your colleagues days later. Annie Graham (Toni Collette) is left lost after the passing of her mother Ellen. Though largely estranged for most of Annie’s adult life, Ellen had been living with Annie, her husband Steve (Gabriel Bryne) and their two teenage children Peter (Alex Wolff) and Charlie (Milly Shapiro) before her death. When both Peter and Charlie start exhibiting bizarre behaviour, Annie is forced to unravel the family history, discovering the terrifying legacy her mother has left behind. Annie copes by throwing herself into her work: creating miniature scenes of moments from her own life, including her son asleep in bed and her mother dying in hospital. These tiny worlds are so eerily detailed and often morph into real scenes, so you’re questioning what’s real and what’s not. In his feature debut, writer/director Ari Aster has mastered a slow, sinister story that is not for the faint-hearted. It is not particularly gory, nor are there jump-scares. What Aster has created is far more unnerving. With an absence of sound and music, he weaves tragedy with unusual family dynamics, abstractly commentating on mental illness and grief, and how these factors can infiltrate and destroy a family unit. And then he adds a demon for good measure. Hereditary is a nightmarish ride off the beaten track of mainstream horror. You have been warned. - Laura White

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