EJ Paras’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Our sacrifice will pale next to the rewards. Love, Mommy”
Genuinely spooked the living hell out of me. I’ve been avoiding this movie knowingly for awhile, since I had a feeling it’d crawl under my skin. I feel like I need to take a bath in Holy Water or something (even that in itself sounds scary, I rescind that comment).
You probably know what this movie’s about already. Much like Midsommar, Ari Aster invites us into the mind of a griever (in this case, grievers) and the fresh, emotional turbulence that ensues from reeling with familial loss. It verges into the supernatural quite gracefully, and (shudders) it’s a masterclass in tension, all under the guise of a familial melodrama.
A lot of things contribute to the film’s almost overbearing eerie tone & mood. It starts with Ari Aster and his wicked script and controlled direction. One of my all-time favorite Reddit exchanges is a Redditor asking Ari Aster if he’s okay. This is a valid question, given how emotionally intense his two feature films have been so far. Aster handles the complex subject of grief masterfully, which helps leads to this extremely intense viewing.
The cast is awesome, but Toni Collette is in a league of her own in this film. She most certainly deserved more awards recognition & love, but this movie probably was too intense for Oscar voters (a shame). An all-time great horror performance, I’d imagine. I was also quite impressed with Alex Wolff as Peter, and how he was also able to express grief and guilt in such a visceral way.
Utah was perfect as the backdrop for Hereditary. Ari Aster thought Utah’s “mountains are beautiful and breathtaking, but also menacing and ominous.” Yep, sounds about right! Shoutout to cinematographer Pawel Porgorzelski for the pristine camerawork that perfectly captured a family grieving — the dollhouse feel of the house, and the looming threats of Utah and the northwest... all more than adequately represented because of Porgorzelski.
Hereditary does a nice job of getting you yourself as the viewer vulnerable with the family’s grief that when a scare happens, you’re not really expecting it and BOOM. Effective horror right there (and I both admire and hate Ari Aster for this).
A beautiful film that I’m not really excited to watch again. Maybe one day. But also maybe not. Perfect for Spooktober 👻
“Why did you try to kill me?”
“I didn't! I was trying to save you!”