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  • Writer's pictureAllan Major

Hereditary 2018 Reviewed

Updated: 5 days ago

Featured Image For Hereditary 2018 Reviewed.  Intense poster for 'Hereditary' showcasing a woman's face split with the reflection of a troubled child, implying a sinister family secret.
Family ties bind more than blood in the shadow of 'Hereditary', where ancestral whispers haunt the living.

Some films don't scare you – they burrow beneath your skin. They twist and writhe, clinging to your subconscious like an inherited curse. "Hereditary" is just such a film. Ari Aster's debut feature isn't merely a horror movie; it's a haunting elegy, a suffocating descent into the darkest reaches of familial sorrow. With each unnerving beat, each shadowed corner, it reveals that true terror lies not in what lurks outside, but in the inescapable bonds of blood and the echoes of unspeakable trauma passed through the generations.

Hereditary 2018 Key Takeaways

  • The destructive nature of inherited trauma: The film emphasizes that the scars of the past can echo through generations. Annie's family history of mental illness, secrets, and tragic loss shape the events and the characters' fates, even when they are not fully aware of it.

  • The insidiousness of grief: Grief isn't just sadness; it can become a consuming, destructive force, warping perceptions and driving people to desperate acts. The film portrays how unprocessed grief twists relationships and can even attract malevolent forces.

  • Family as a double-edged sword: The bonds of family can offer love and support, but also harbor resentment, guilt, and the potential for toxic dynamics. "Hereditary" shows that the closest relationships can be a source of both comfort and terror.

  • The fragility of control: The film repeatedly demonstrates how powerless humans can be in the face of forces beyond their understanding. Whether fate, demonic influence, or simply mental frailty, the Grahams' attempts to control their lives ultimately prove futile.

  • The unreliability of perception: What we perceive as reality may be twisted by grief, trauma, or manipulation. The film masterfully blurs the line between psychological horror and supernatural events, making the audience question what they truly saw.

  • The horror of the mundane: True terror often hides not in monsters or the occult, but within everyday objects, relationships, and even our own minds. The film makes the ordinary feel deeply unsettling, emphasizing that horror can come from within.

  • The importance of communication: "Hereditary" highlights how a lack of open communication and a history of hidden secrets contribute to the family's downfall. Repressed emotions and unspoken truths fester and ultimately erupt.

Woman watches the movie Hereditary (2018) with a look of dread.
The nightmares start before the movie ends.

The film draws us into the crumbling home of the Graham family, a house where every creaking floorboard seems to sigh with unspoken secrets. In the wake of her secretive mother's death, Annie Graham (Toni Collette in a performance of raw, unhinged brilliance) teeters on the brink of madness. She is consumed by an icy mix of grief, resentment, and an unshakeable sense that something sinister has been unleashed from the shadows of the past.

Her children, the withdrawn Peter (Alex Wolff) and the peculiar, troubled Charlie (Milly Shapiro), are bound to her in a tangle of love, duty, and a growing dread. Their father, Steve (Gabriel Byrne), observes the chaos with quiet desperation, his own stoicism a shield against the darkness consuming his family. It's a household on the verge of collapse, where reality itself starts to bend and splinter, each scene a jagged piece of a fractured family portrait.

Ari Aster doesn’t rely on cheap jump scares or gore to deliver the goods. Like "The Exorcist" or "Rosemary's Baby" before it, "Hereditary" crafts a slow-burn dread that seeps into your bones. It's a masterclass in atmosphere and unsettling imagery. Aster's camera work is like a stalking predator, prowling through the Graham house, finding horror in the mundane. Combined with Colin Stetson's dissonant, wailing score, it creates a symphony of discomfort that stays with you long past the closing credits.

Man with a look of growing unease watching Hereditary (2018).
The silence after the scream is almost worse.

You Will Find Mixed Emotions About This Horror Movie On Imdb

The film unfolds with a dreamlike – or rather, nightmarish – inevitability. Shocking, disturbing occurrences puncture the fragile peace of the Grahams. Strange symbols, uncanny visions, and the feeling of being constantly watched build a suffocating unease. This isn't simply a haunted house; it's the external manifestation of Annie’s internal anguish and the inescapable legacy of madness that haunts her bloodline.

Toni Collette gives one of the most visceral, gut-wrenching performances I've ever seen. She embodies Annie's torment with a rawness that borders on the unbearable. Her performance is the film's beating heart, a testament to the power of grief and the fragility of sanity in the face of overwhelming horror. Milly Shapiro as Charlie is equally unnerving, her wide-eyed strangeness both chilling and deeply unsettling.

While "Hereditary" taps into familiar tropes of the horror genre – possession, secret cults, the sins of the past – Aster spins them into something both deeply personal and terrifyingly original. This isn't just another paranormal spook show; it's a vehicle to explore the horrors of inheritance, the ways trauma can echo through generations, and the terrifying powerlessness of being unable to save those you love.

"Hereditary" is one of the scariest, most profoundly disturbing films I've ever seen, and a testament to the chilling power of the new horror movie wave. It's a film that's perhaps most importantly, not for the faint of heart. The payoff is worth it, though – the ending few minutes are a dizzying, shocking descent into madness and despair that will sear itself into your memory and leave you questioning the very meaning of family. While there are detectable pacing issues, the horror moments far outweigh the negatives. In my view, it's a film that redefines what the genre is capable of – a true horror masterpiece.

And that is Hereditary 2018 Reviewed. Another modern horror movie that fans either seem to love or hate. 

Stay tuned for more horror movie reviews

If You Liked Hereditary 2018 You Might Also Like These Films.

  • The Exorcist (1973): A demonic possession classic focused on a young girl exhibiting horrifying behavior. Like "Hereditary," it explores themes of faith, family dysfunction, and the power of evil forces beyond our understanding.

  • Rosemary's Baby (1968): This iconic film by Roman Polanski follows a pregnant woman who grows increasingly paranoid that her neighbors and husband are part of a satanic cult with sinister plans for her unborn child. Shares disturbing themes of manipulation, gaslighting, and the vulnerability of motherhood explored in "Hereditary."

  • The Witch (2015): Set in 17th-century New England, this film follows a Puritan family who experiences terrifying supernatural events after being exiled to the edge of the woods. "The Witch" shares a focus on family under immense pressure, the dangers of religious fervor, and the oppressive atmosphere of a lurking evil with "Hereditary".

  • The Babadook (2014): An Australian horror film about a widowed mother struggling to cope with her troubled son, who becomes convinced a monster from a children's book has entered their lives. Similar to "Hereditary", it explores how grief and trauma can manifest as disturbing forces within the home.

  • Kill List (2011): This British psychological horror follows two hitmen whose latest assignment descends into a world of disturbing rituals and a sense that something far more sinister is at play. Like "Hereditary," it begins as a grounded story and then takes a dark, unnerving turn toward a horrifying and deeply unsettling ending.

Hereditary 2018 Reviewed FAQs

Q: What is the movie "Hereditary" about? 

A: "Hereditary" is a horror film that follows a grieving family as they uncover dark secrets about their ancestry after the death of their secretive matriarch. At its core, the film explores the devastating impact of inherited trauma, the insidious nature of grief, and the terrifying power of forces we cannot understand or control.

Q: Who are some of the key actors in "Hereditary"? 

A: The movie stars Toni Collette in the lead role as Annie Graham, a troubled artist and mother coping with the death of her mother. It also features:

  • Alex Wolff as Peter, the teenage son struggling with his own emotional turmoil.

  • Milly Shapiro as Charlie Graham, the peculiar and deeply unsettling 13-year-old daughter.

  • Gabriel Byrne as Steve, Annie's supportive but increasingly overwhelmed husband.

  • Ann Dowd as Joan, a seemingly helpful member of a grief support group who harbors sinister connections to the family's past.

Q: What is the directing style of "Hereditary"? 

A: "Hereditary" is directed by Ari Aster in his feature film debut. It's known for its masterful slow-burn horror, its reliance on atmosphere and disturbing imagery over traditional jump-scares. Aster crafts a sense of mounting dread through lingering camera work, an unsettling score, and a pervasive feeling that something terrible is lurking just out of sight.

Q: How is the cinematography in "Hereditary"? 

A: The movie features stunning cinematography by Pawel Pogorzelski ("Midsommar", "Border"). He creates a visually captivating and eerie atmosphere that reflects the characters' unraveling mental states. The camera often glides unsettlingly through the Graham house, turning familiar spaces into sources of fear.

Q: Is "Hereditary" similar to other horror films? 

A: "Hereditary" is often compared to films like "The Exorcist," "Rosemary's Baby," "The Witch," and "It Comes at Night" for its atmospheric and deeply unsettling approach to horror. It prioritizes a slow build of psychological terror over cheap thrills, drawing the viewer into a world where the lines between the supernatural and the psychological become dangerously blurred.

Q: What are some reviews of "Hereditary"? 

A: "Hereditary" is critically acclaimed, praised for its raw performances, chilling atmosphere, and exploration of complex themes like grief and generational trauma. It holds a 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is considered a modern horror masterpiece by many critics and fans.

Q: Why is "Hereditary" considered a must-watch for horror film enthusiasts? 

A: "Hereditary" delivers its horror in a way that burrows under your skin and lingers long after the movie finally ends. It's a film that subverts expectations, defies easy categorization, and forces viewers to confront the darkness that can exist within ourselves and our families.


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