Wow… last week I saw director Ari Aster’s first feature length motion picture, which miraculously meets the same quality as a longtime veteran. To enormous surprise, he created a strong cinematic mission statement supporting the misguided yet unforgettable spiritual social order of Hereditary. What’s the mission statement exactly? Well, let’s see:
He first sets up a dad, a mom, a boy, and a girl residing in a large wood house by a forest. The perspective taken here is through the matriarch, Annie, who has no choice but to watch her family pay themselves to the unknown haunts that beckon them. Hereditary’s power stems off how it takes its time to display a demand for us to accept family angst, staged through the nearly nonexistent lights above a conflicted dinner.
Everything else within Aster’s deconstruction of America’s nuclear home, especially the flickering image itself, appears top notch. Hereditary’s sound design helps transition between loud and quiet moments until you’d rather slice your own ears off than listen any further to the film’s satanic taunts. Harsh noise frequencies give a constant heavy pulse, scary paranoia established through a slow camera pan across art supplies that segues into the first scene. Rather than familiar instruments, a deep bassoon blares at a steady frequency below our ears’ capacity, supposedly mixed by demons to make your heartbeat race along to the score’s dark rhythm.
Hereditary‘s performances also triumph: Toni Collette (Annie) draws the peak of her career, her ritualistic eyes offering gradual grief until her disturbed desperate voice delivers a killer monologue. Likewise, Milly Shapiro’s (Charlie, the thirteen-year-old daughter) tongue clicks freaks you out more than The Omen. Hard to believe Milly previously played Matilda on Broadway!
Between these “humans“ trying to act human, the persuasively paced cast enhance Hereditary’s mindset on why people become a harmful investment, the slow camera pans drawing attention forward to the individuals’ shared disconnect.
Don’t think too highly of this attack on innocence though. A little fair notice for anyone falling under Hereditary’s most likely demographic of young adults: odds are you may receive the wrong positive ideas, particularly contemplation toward a glamorized a psychic medium career. Just wanted to make full disclosure before discussing the flick’s real meat.
Hereditary demonstrates self-blame condemnation, as Annie admits unidentifiable accusation of herself, a mysterious grief she paints through creating miniature models of familiarity. She sleeps inside the heated tree house to grieve, much like how Charlie sleeps inside the attic… which communicates her dangerously deceptive familial distance. Then Annie repeatedly tells her husband she plans to go see a movie when she actually attends a grief circle. Beyond her own lies: the teenage son, Peter, a bong smoker, has numerous life secrets he carries outside. Yes, everyone lies about their plans... except Charlie.
She seems better off at living than Peter, who constantly freaks out around his classmates to unholy extent. While these details of the family’s low points get shown, Hereditary takes its time to let you process the shock, each emotional beat exploiting fears of walking through dark empty hallways after peering around the room from underneath bedsheets. Eventually, following off the disturbed visual of an ant-eaten severed head, a scary cultic ritual brings all loose ends together.
…yeah. Based off my previous experience, such imagery honestly damages your moral senses to watch. The finale reminded me of my time watching Avengers: Infinity War. Throughout most of the film I thought, “Wow! I’m liking this writing!” But once the credits rolled, I thought, “Eh, never mind.” Except unlike Infinity War, which just gave an unexpected discouraging ending, Hereditary made me like the film less because being a Christian, its bleak, pointless pro-Satanism message upset me.
Hence why I had a peaceful night’s sleep immediately afterward—my inner vulnerability was unscathed. I believe The Silence of the Lambs benefits greater to watch since it proposes realistic solutions for our shared terror, unlike how Hereditary foolishly says sin triumphs without even saying what triumphs over sin.
We fleshly organisms might better off seize to have ears anymore… or eyes, or a nose, or a mouth, or hair, or cheeks, or a chin, or a neck, or any of the skull’s added pieces. Hereditary commands us to ultimately submit ourselves beneath whatever outdoes our control. The question remains: Will you obey Ari Aster’s smooth-talking against your supposed insignificance?
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Hereditary. A24. Web. <https://a24films.com/films/hereditary>.
Kojder, Robert. “Movie Review – Hereditary (2018).” Digital image. Flickering Myth. 3 Jun 2018. Web. <https://www.flickeringmyth.com/2018/06/movie-review-hereditary-2018/>.