Brett (Artpig)’s review published on Letterboxd:
This was an experience in the cinema for sure.
I saw this with my dad at like 11:50 and no one was in the Theatre so we sat in th every back and the entire place was dead silent, man was it perfect!
The movie is really great as well!
It's interesting, before watching this movie I had a sense of nervousness. It was like I was about to ride Rock N Rollercoaster at Hollywood Studios. My heart was pumping fast because everyone hyped this up as the most gruesome and terrifying film ever made.
It isn't- like at all. The crucifix scene in The Exorcist still is above all of this, that opening train sequence in Suicide Club or the short film Terrifier all have much much more body horror and terror. I'm going to sleep well tonight, being someone who's researched all about the horror genre and the lengths it can go, I recognize where all of these troupes come from.
That being said, the sense of urgency and dread created in this movie is not something I have felt from a film in years. I was constantly hiding my face in my hands in what turned out to be absolutely nothing. This film has you in its grip and doesn't let go for the entire runtime. Director Ari knows exactly where the camera should be and what should be in the shot to create the most startling and unsettling image. He also knows how much plot to reveal and what to keep hidden to create an amazingly compelling and traumatizing narrative.
What Ari understands is that our imagination is what brings the scariest and most trauma inducing visuals in our head. These log slow takes and walks through dark hallways with only clicking sounds to hear create the most tension in the film, because you don't know what's creeping around. You aren't secure in knowing what is right behind you- the feeling of not knowing is the basic essential element to fear and horror and Hereditary understands that more then any other horror film I've seen in years-
The cast is fantastic in their roles, Toni Collette deserves a Nomination for her work in this film, I can only imagine how demanding her role would be here. Alex Wolf also had to carry a lot of this film and did a good job playing a pretty confused and scared teenager.
The entire film is just filled with nice tension. We've seen these troupes before but what the director put into this is what makes this movie so wonderful, it's masterfully crafted and the story is brilliantly told, it's like hearing it for the first time.
All the tiny little details, and questions left unanswered is what gives this film power over you after you leave the cinema. What is shown is effective and what is not shown is even more effective. There's genuine moments of absolute grief and terror that is easy to relate to if you've ever been in trauma or experiences loss, and this is what I believe makes this movie have a power over its viewers. A sense of understanding in the first part and then the slow unraveling of evil spirits in the second when you are invested in the drama this family is feeling. This is the perfect example of a slow burn that is super effective. It's like working a jack in the box for most of the runtime and it's just masterfully crafted.
I will say the very ending reveal I was expecting a little more of a punch. Of course it's unsettling and creepy as heck but like, it was a lot of build up for an ending that's been done a few times before.
This is the Rosemary's Baby spiritual follow up that last years mother! wanted to be and failed to be.
Also, every single film I see about worshiping Satan and satanism makes me just want to run further away from any of that crap. Seriously, Hereditary and Rosemary's Baby are like pretty good AD's showing what could happen without God's grace in your life.
This was one terrific and unsettling adventure, I would love to listen to a directors commentary at some point and understand all the workings of his twisted mind. Can't wait to see what film he comes up with next, because this is one heck of a debut.