This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
☆ Sophie ☆’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Holy. Fucking. Shit. Ari Aster is a madman and a genius. I feel that modern horror has grasped how to make a film that's truly unsettling and emotionally disturbing. Hereditary is a film that primarily deals in atmosphere and emotional fear. The film delivers its horror through an intensifying sense of unease and dread that becomes nearly suffocating by its conclusion. Rather than startling you with cheap scares, it offers haunting and upsetting images which are often delivered without any of those overused cheap jump scares.
Perhaps most importantly, it connects everything in an emotional core with subtlely different characters who experience relatable family struggles and grief. And that is absolutely critical to what makes the movie compelling and haunting: it works on a metaphorical level, using the supernatural story as a medium (ha I made a pun) to explore the authentic way in which a family can be devastated by tragedy, and how trauma and mental illness are passed through the generations. I'd be stupid, not to mention that Toni Collette gives a mesmerizing performance in this film that is absolutely insane and truly difficult to stomach at times. The rest of the cast nailed their performances.
I've never heard of Colin Stetson, the score composer for this film. I'm usually one to glare over the music for horror films, but I feel the need to give some praise. The score moves with the story and creeps up on you in a way you won't notice. The slow build of the music mirrors the slow build of the film, and it's done perfectly. The climactic scene was jaw-dropping. The whole scene gave me chills, and I think part of it was because of the music.
I think 'slow-paced' modern horror is my new favorite genre. Ari Aster has created two incredible films that are so different from each other, yet have a similar style. It's not scary in the way that most horror films are scary. It felt more unsettling and traumatic rather than frightening. Unlike other horror films, I cannot wait to revisit this film. There are definitely things and hidden clues I missed when watching for the first time. Overall, brilliant use of imagery and foreshadowing. The cast is phenomenal. The movie is a ritual, not a series of events that are tense and disturbing; you won't see the end coming.
*SPOILERS* Discussion question: What are some interesting hidden clues you noticed during your first time watching? Comment below!
ALSO: Charlie's death was hands down one of the most unexpected moments in any film I've ever seen. I thought she was going to be a main character, and she sort of was in a way?
**P.S. Thank you, TikTok, for ruining the climax of this film for me.