Blair Russell’s review published on Letterboxd:
I know those that have seen this already will likely disagree with my rating it as simply “good” instead of “sensational” but I'll try to explain it without spoiling major moments and I'll try to be vague. Somehow, I never saw a trailer for the movie and I ended up going out of my way to not find out what it's about. I even skipped past the reviews that my mutuals did of the film until late last night. Honestly, I only knew it starred Toni Collette and from a still she was greatly upset by something that had happened. It took me a long while to realize that Gabriel Byrne was playing her husband; honestly, it's been a long time since I've seen Gabriel Byrne in a movie.
Yet I could not avoid hearing the news that this got a D+ CinemaScore; from there I figured this was going to be a certain kind of film and it was. Another A24 horror film (The Witch, or The VVitch, if you will) got a C- and that worked quite well for me. This, it was an indie film, both the positive and negative connotations. As it's literally the opening shot, I'll mention that the movie starts with an older person dying, and the family-led by Collette and Byrne-have a rather interesting reaction to the death. I quickly realized this was a quirky family which had plenty of issues and this kind of movie wasn't always my bag. One character is just off-putting and I sighed. Things happen and you see the family fall apart as weird things start happening. I will admit there are some great scares and a few images are disturbing as hell.
For me, though, following around this family for 2 hours plus felt like a very long 2 hours plus. It wasn't always a pleasant sit watching these characters interact with each other. I imagine that was at least part of the reason why the masses did not care for the movie; the other obvious reason would have to be how the scares are done and how this usually isn't a traditional horror picture. I was fine with that as like I said there were some solid horror moments. The denouement and once you realize what's going on... I did not hear any crowd reaction to the film although the audience I saw it with was small; I understand there were some screenings out there where crowds voiced their displeasure that this wasn't another dopey big studio horror picture. But yes the ending: what a path that **redacted** took to get from Point A to Point B. It was curious although I know it would have been less thrilling if it wasn't done that way.
Despite my carping, I can still say this is good overall. It was well shot and a big asset was both the score and the sound design; they were well done and helped enhance what was on screen. Thus I am not mad I saw this; I just wish I could be over the moon about Hereditary. I am glad that A24 had their most successful release of all time with this, even if the public was all “bahhh!” and felt like they were hoodwinked. As this was Ari Aster's first feature film, I will presume he will make something more for my tastes.