Director: Ari Aster
Cast: Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Gabriel Byrne
Scare Meter: 8/10
Scare Tactics: KLOK!, and the diabolical forces at work
IMDb Plot Summary: "After the family matriarch passes away, a grieving family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences, and begin to unravel dark secrets."
The resurgence of horror in the last five years has led us to this masterpiece, for which none of those modern gems in the genre prepared us. We'd have to look as far back to the 1960s and 1970s, to masterworks like Rosemary's Baby, The Exorcist, and Hour of the Wolf, to find something even remotely resembling the almost spiritual terror that Ari Aster's Hereditary awakens in its viewers. It's harrowing and disturbing and mind-reeling, and so well-crafted; the cinematography and production design are among the best in the genre. Toni Collete, who earned an Oscar nomination for playing another horror-stricken mother in The Sixth Sense, does phenomenal work here. It's safe to say that hers is among the top five best performances in a horror film ever, with her level of commitment almost matching Isabelle Adjani's in Possession. Alex Wolff, who plays her son, should be getting much more praise for his insanely good performance. The film can be stressful to sit through on the first viewing, but a second is very rewarding, as you get to see more of the subtle signs that point toward the genuinely diabolical nature of what initially seems like a simple haunted house story. Hereditary is anything but simple, and I hope more future horror movies don't shy away from being as complex and unabashedly evil.