Jenna Ipcar’s review published on Letterboxd:
Hereditary 2.0 (and quite literally in key plot points and violent last acts that take place in geometrically shaped buildings.............)
This is full of really interesting ideas, all of which are individually done super well, but it doesn't come together, like, at all. One movie is about dealing with traumatic grief and near constant uncontrollable anxiety that everybody 'feels' for but nobody understands. One movie is about a toxic relationship with a shitty privileged loser who likes to pick apart others for his own insecurity while still mining the hell out of the things he actually does like about you and making them his own (god, have we just all dated this guy?). That also ties into the Americans Abroad subplot.
Then there's the breakup plot, that semi marries the first two but never resolves in any satisfying way... unless you view the entire movie as a super blunt metaphor for break up (which it is either way), where every act represents a different stage of breaking up, ending with a bit of a twisted 'strength from pain' lesson.
THEN there's the whole pagan Swedish cult situation. There's sooo much promise here but, despite the fantastically crafted sets and adequately mystifying rituals, you get the sense it was an afterthought to the break up stuff and therefore it just gets used as a fairly flat vehicle to get you to the ending... an ending that feels less meaningful than it feels more like a creepy image Aster saw on Tumblr and then wrote an entire movie around.
There's a LOT of inconsistencies with this cult, and they kind of sink it... they lie a lot, for one. And they lie in weird inconsistent ways, I mean like if you include an entire scene that's literally just there to explain 'its okay, people choose to die for us and its fine, we don't force them' you can't then turn around and start killing people in Bryan Fuller style because 'why not.' Or the whole incest thing they deny and then openly parade around? (With overly cliche 'children of incest' deformed faces that seem completely unrealistic.) Like, there was just no logic to the rituals in the end... Aster got to the 'feel your pain' family part that makes his breakup plot work (establishing this cult simply as a stand in for 'therapy sessions') and then dropped the ball hardcore.
So............. I don't even know. I enjoyed this as a horror movie that takes place in the light. I enjoyed this as a film about grief and anxiety. I enjoyed this as a shitty boyfriend gets his (baffling) comeuppance film. I enjoyed the painted sets and the illustrations in general. I enjoyed the costumes and the shapes of the buildings in contrast to the countryside. But it didn't scare me nearly as much as Hereditary hit me on a visceral level (despite its flaws, of which there were also a lot). I appreciated some of its moments of levity (not as much as the theater did, they positively lost their shit laughing at a handful of scenes Id file under 'polite chuckles') but even those didn't serve to do much but make us want unjust murder to take place.