Written by Joe Fisk
Some films are made for mass audiences to view once. Other films are tailored to a more specific cult following of audiences to be viewed and cherished again and again. Hereditary is one of these films.
A 2018 horror film, written and directed by Ari Asher, Hereditary is a refreshing step away from the jump scares and other boring, cheap tactics that litter the modern horror market. Hereditary is more similar to Get Out (Jordan Peele) and The Witch (Robert Eggers), with a style more reminiscent of classic horror films. The film was even advertised as ‘The scariest movie since The Exorcist.’
Although these comparisons might be a bit overzealous, the movie does have a similar sense of family-oriented drama. Through ghostly camera work, suspense and phenomenal acting performances by Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine) and Milly Shapiro (Broadway Kids Against Bullying: I Have a Voice), Hereditary was the best horror film of 2018.
The film follows a family grieving the loss of a recent family member. The deceased woman’s daughter, Anne Graham, played by Collette, starts to uncover secrets of their ancestry, which become increasingly horrifying.
Anne’s daughter, Charlie, played by Shapiro, was close to her grandmother and perhaps, of the family, the most affected by her death. She is a disengaged girl with strange habits like clicking her tongue on the roof of her mouth and drawing cryptic sketches. As the family grieves the death, tragedy and the supernatural weave their way into the story.
The film features impressive camera work and a meticulous set design. The story is engaging with a suspenseful pace and appropriately disorienting cinematography from Pawel Pogorzelski that sets a tone for true horror to come. This is backed by phenomenal performances by supporting actresses Shapiro and Anne Dowd, as well as a career-defining performance from lead actress Collette. Despite not winning an Oscar for best actress in a lead role, many argue her performance was deservant. Asher’s direction is intelligent and stylistic, proving he can appropriately utilize the talents of his impressive cast and crew. He keeps the viewer entertained and curiously anticipating what is next.
The ending is intriguing and leaves the viewer with an interesting answer and even more so, interesting questions. Although the film will not be enjoyed and well liked by everyone, it is great for classic horror fans. 2018 wasn’t necessarily a great year for horror films. However, there was some decent competition, such as, David Gordon Green’s Halloween, but Hereditary brings an exciting element of class and true horror that made it 2018’s best horror film.