Hereditary

Maybe my expectations were too high.

I’d been reading rave reviews and hearing great things from my friends about Hereditary….

But it just didn’t do it for me.

The first half of the film is excellent. The sense of creeping, nameless, impending dread is downright Lovecraftian. The cinematography and pulsating, off-putting soundtrack really intensify the feeling of the wrongness in the film.

The entire sequence of Charlie’s (Milly Shapiro) allergic reaction and subsequent horrific death is incredibly orchestrated and filmed. The scene where Peter (Alex Wolff) cannot bring himself to look in the rear view mirror is intense and dreadful. Annie’s (Toni Collette) screams as she finds her daughter’s body and, later, when she’s begging to die are absolutely haunting.

However, the film spirals into quick decline afterward.

Where the first half of Hereditary is suspenseful build-up, the second half is a confusing info dump that somehow still manages to leave the viewer wondering what exactly is happening. There’s an interesting plot somewhere in that mess, but it’s never really brought to the surface.

Nearly everyone praises Toni Collette’s acting and, were it not for the second half of the movie, I would agree. At some point her frantic insanity becomes overacting. The scene where she is begging Steve (Gabriel Byrne) to burn the book comes to mind. Alex Wolff’s performance is horrible throughout, but is especially abysmal any time that he is crying – which is a significant amount of the film.

My absolute biggest problem with Hereditary is that it devolves into a show and tell of horror tropes and cliches. What began as unique and interesting quickly becomes familiar and boring.

This may be nitpicking, but I couldn’t help but wonder how Peter could possibly be a child of Annie and Steve. I mean…. he doesn’t look anything like either of them. And I don’t mean in the way that some kids don’t resemble their parents, either. I mean he appears to have a completely different ethnic background. If this was part of the overarching plot, I certainly missed it.

I expected a lot from this film, and was left feeling mostly disappointed and only slightly disturbed.

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