Jim McGrath’s review published on Letterboxd:
This movie was so dumb. Great cast wasted by a movie that spirals further and further into pretentious nonsense. I was laughing at this thing by the final scenes. Can't think of one sequence that we haven't seen in a bunch of other, better movies. Go watch Hellraiser, or The Omen, or the original Wicker Man, or more recent stuff like The VVitch or The Conjuring, or a million other movies that cover similar terrain. Hereditary is the It Follows of 2018 for me: a confident, overhyped horror movie marketed for people who don't normally like horror movies that a lot of those people end up liking I guess.
The thing that made me the most mad about this movie was how little it seemed to care about its characters in the service of its boring series of revelations (and yes I know there is a scene where a character aspires to a "neutral perspective" when creating images of horror but that doesn't absolve the movie, it just makes it more self-aware of its flaws i guess). it seems like lots of people enjoy the "real" reactions the characters have to the tragedy and weird shit happening to them, but is the bar really that low for horror movies? Also, the horror movie you're praising seems to abandon those pretenses when it's convenient to get to its final destination. And the characters still do a bunch of very dumb and nonsensical things throughout the whole thing! arrrrgh.
I was trying to think about why movies like Hereditary bum me out compared to, like all the Hollywood superhero and fantasy stuff that I enjoy, and for now what I've got is that I think I view Avengers movies like I'm going to watch professional wrestling or a cartoon, whereas with horror movies like this one (not all of them: like, I approach the teen slasher movies I grew up with or B movies on different terms) I am trusting the filmmakers a bit more when they evoke certain emotional responses and manipulate me in certain intense directions. Like, there is some Heavy Shit that pops up in this movie and is played pretty straight, and then all of that set-up is in the service of a story that is Extremely Dumb. It's a metaphor or something.
ugh, I'm still mad about this one. Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne deserve better than this.