After the passing of Ellen Graham, her daughter Anne (Toni Collette) begins to unravel the secrets of her mother’s past. However, this unraveling may have dire consequences on her entire family.
Toni Collette was great as Annie, the matriarch of the family. I felt that she carried most of the movie based on her performance alone. Just like 2014’s Babadook, I felt that the family drama aspect was arguably the best part of the movie. I felt that Collette’s performance tied in perfectly with this aspect of the movie as the audience gets to see her conflicted emotions regarding her past. You don’t really know if her character is experiencing the events portrayed in the movie or if she is hallucinating.
Another great aspect about this movie is its direction. Ari Aster, the director of this movie, knows how to set up an atmosphere. While the movie isn’t “scary” per se, it is indeed disturbing. Hereditary is a “slow burn” type of movie, so it’s not for the faint of heart. What’s even more impressive is the fact that this is his feature-length debut. He has the potential to be a great director.
The movie also has some great cinematography. I felt that aspect of the movie complimented its art direction. For example, the opening scene of Hereditary was great as it sets up the overall tone of the movie.
I felt that Hereditary was great until its third act, then it devolves into a more generic horror movie to appeal to the general horror fanbase. As I have mentioned before, I felt that the family aspect was the most interesting part of Hereditary. However, the movie has a hard time deciding whether it wants to be a dark family drama or an outright horror movie. The supernatural elements of the movie felt rather forced. I felt these tonal conflicts ultimately dragged down the movie.
I may be nitpicking here, but I felt that Alex Wolff was the weakest part of the movie. While he wasn’t a bad actor overall, I felt he was unconvincing during the emotional parts of the movie. Whenever he cries during the movie, it comes off as unintentionally hilarious.
THE FINAL VERDICT
While I liked the overall movie, I felt that Hereditary fell short of being a great movie due to overplayed horror tropes. I felt that Hereditary fell victim to its hype.