Hereditary ★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

People have to stop saying things like “This generation’s The Exorcist.” Because when I hear that I immediately anticipate a genre defining set piece or something so scary I’ll leave with my pants thoroughly soaked.

Hereditary is good. The visual language and the performances are perfect. The scares? They're fine. Then again this film isn't about "scares" as much as it's about persistent dread. Which I felt until the film's midpoint.

The mystery of Hereditary is intriguing though there are more than a few loose ends I’m not sure about. Annie’s work with miniatures complimented the film’s creepiness well. Especially when she starts depicting her family tragedy’s in her work. Though I don’t feel like the miniature work ever lived up to its full potential as something that could have been very scary.

The film’s horrific car scene at the midpoint is the best sequence in the film. There’s so much tension and panic leading up to such a brutal payoff. I wish there were any other set pieces or scares in the film that rivaled that one.

Once I got a feel for the movie's rhythm, any sense of persistent dread dissipated. I didn’t feel like this was a film that was going to deliver anything else as spectacularly morbid as the car scene. The beats felt familiar and the end (although strongly visual) felt too similar to the finale in The Witch.

One more note, and this may sound like nitpicking, I didn’t like the film’s “ghost logic” or “demon logic” or however you want to label it. I’ll go along with Annie’s ability to float and crawl on ceilings, that stuff is fine. But how can she be locked out of one room and then transport into it. She’s not dead at that point. Or the immolation sequence. Am I missing something? Usually I can look past supernatural phenomena in a movie if I feel like we know what is and what is not possible, but I didn't

The end results of these sequences are effective but felt more like the story had been written into a corner and then just cheated by saying “This film has supernatural stuff so anything can happen.”

Hereditary will be a classic. I think that’s really cool. It does a lot well, very well. But for me it never stood out from a conceptual standpoint. I don’t know how you could sum up this film in one sentence and make it sound interesting. All in all it’s another ghost/demon haunting movie that just happens to be done well. Regardless I think Ari Aster does a fantastic job and can’t wait to see what he does next.

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