a HEREDITARY musing
I’m sure I’ve written about this before, but I absolutely love movies that take me places I never thought I’d go when I sit down in the theater. The discovery of the unknown and anticipation for what you think is going to come can culminate in a transcendent movie experience. This is why I try my best to stay away from trailers/any type of marketing for movies. I’m going to see (mostly) everything anyway, so why do I need to see anything before I'm snug in my theater seat?
As a result of their marketing, HEREDITARY’s audience score was very low. Lauded as one of the scariest movies in forever, expectations for most were extremely high, as people wanted the poop scared out of them. HEREDITARY is not that; it’s a quiet, low-key, movie that makes you uncomfortable by way of its stunning cinematography and slow-burn pace. It’s shocking and made me uneasy, as I had to look away during a lot of horrifying scenes. (There’s one particular shot about 30 minutes in that seems a bit self-indulgent and is very upsetting, but I respect the film for letting us sit with that image.) But it’s all in service of building that tension so that when it’s released, it becomes a madcap crazy time as we go further down a rabbit hole.
Toni Collette deserves at least a nomination for her performance as the new matriarch of the family following her mother’s death. Her children, played by Alex Wolff (who has grown on me after his performances in PATRIOTS DAY and JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE) and stellar newcomer Milly Shapiro, begin to experience supernatural hauntings, which eventually creeps into the live of their mother and father (Gabriel Byrne).
To be honest, I’ve only recently become brave enough to watch horror movies in theaters on my own volition, and it turned out 3 of my Top 10 of last year were horror movies. (See: GET OUT, RAW, and IT.) Those movies weren’t necessarily jump-scare ridden, as I still can’t take those nor like them. HEREDITARY has barely any, but when they come, they feel earned because of all the buildup.
On top of that, the camera work is extraordinary; if you’re an avid reader of my musings, you’ll know I’m a sucker for tracking shots/one-takes and this was filled with them. They allow the actors to really explore the material and let the audience sit with that uneasiness. Tracking shots in horror movies are also more admirable, as they require lots of setups and rehearsals, I’m sure. (Random plug: check out my music video for “Flower Girl” that we filmed as one continuous shot! It was an exhausting day…)
HEREDITARY is an extremely hard, upsetting watch, but I ate up every single second of it. Most of the disturbing imagery will stay with me for a while (I’ll always be checking corners of whatever room I’m in…), and I can’t complain. Movies that stick with me in any type of way are ones that I love.
RATING: BEST OF THE BEST
(Refer to my rating system HERE!)