Hereditary

Hereditary ★★★

First of all, this film is not "this generation's 'The Exorcist.'" Nor is it "this generation's 'Rosemary's Baby'" for that matter.

"Hereditary" doesn't come close to those classic horror films in terms of characterization or narrative coherence. Toni Colette, Ann Dowd, and Alex Woolf all give very strong performances, and the film boasts some unusually creepy imagery, fabulous sound design (the doppler effect immerses us in the film, to the point that I swore I heard tongue clucking in the cab on the way home) and great sequences, rendering it a good, perhaps even very good, film.

However, the story remains sketchy, and the ending in particular feels overwrought and unsatisfying, straining "suspension of disbelief." There is not enough context for that resolution, as I saw it, so I felt stunned and a little let down. Which is really too bad, because the sequences leading up to it - directly after the "fire" scene - are extremely tense and quite frightening. The car scene with Peter and Charlie (I hope to see more of Milly Shapiro in future films!) is also brilliant & horrifying.

It just doesn't come together **in terms of story.** Even the film's title is not clearly explained. There are intimations, but nothing is made clear. Don't get me wrong: ambiguity is fine; in fact, I usually love it. But "Hereditary" has too many loose threads to take it from very good to excellent. I will give it another watch, of course, to see if that changes for me.

For now, I am glad I saw it in a theatre, and there is certainly lots to like, regardless of my critiques. I look forward to reading more reviews on here.

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