Reviews Hereditary 2018 Hereditary: Tolstoy wrote: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” In this film each member of the Graham family is unhappy in their own way. Annie (Toni Collette), the mother, grieves for her own recently deceased mother. But she was estranged from that difficult, domineering woman for years only reconciling towards the end. Her father starved himself to death, her brother committed committed suicide. All of that trauma seems to have driven Annie over the edge.
Charlie (Milly Shapiro), the daughter, is unhappy in herself, gorges on chocolate, sketches continuously, cuts the heads off dead birds, sleeps in a treehouse. Peter (Alex Wolff), the son, is a pothead, he feels unloved by his mother, as the film unfolds he develops a crippling guilt over an accident he feels responsible for. Steve (Gabriel Byrne), the paterfamilias, has a countenance as dour and world weary as we’ve come to expect from Stephen Rea. He carries out the mundane tasks of cooking and trying to keep the family together. A counterpoint to the craziness of Annie.
One of the most shocking scenes in the film has no explicit supernatural cause but it left me gasping. There are plenty of shocks provoked by strange entities though and none of seem forced. Spirits possess Seance participants, messages are written on chalkboards by invisible hands. Murderous spirits are summoned up. Levitation and Spontaneous Human Combustion All of this is somehow related to secrets kept by Annie’s deceased mother.
Annie builds dolls house’s, meticulously detailed, she is even working on a model of the hospice where her mother died. This is used by director Ari Aster to frame many shots as the action moves seamlessly from model to the real house and back again. The Graham’s residence has the appearance of a dolls house, the furniture layout, shots along corridors. While Aster is at the helm and delivers a witty but scare inducing screenplay, cinematography by Pawel Pogorzelski, editing by Lucian Johnston and Jennifer Lame, production design by Grace Yun and set decoration by Brian Lives all contribute to success of this unique Horror Film. I see elements of A Dark Song, Kill List, The Exorcist and even Rosemary’s Baby but this is very much it’s own film. Pacing is perfect. A new