This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Kait’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
as a wise woman (my friend stephanie) once said, “ari aster belongs in jail.”
woof! don’t know what I was expecting but it certainly was not this! I don’t think I’ve ever been more disturbed by a film in my entire life, genuinely. honestly I’m surprised I didn’t throw up at any point during its absurdly long runtime, considering the fact that I possess what is quite possibly the weakest stomach known to man! there was so much gore and body horror that it eventually got to a point where it was flat out gratuitous. just for once I would love it if white male directors seriously considered whether or not all of the violence featured in their films is actually necessary in order for the plot to move forward :)
I will say that I really enjoyed the central theme of like...the very delicate balance between “this culture is simply different from your own in terms of customs / traditions / belief systems and just because they’re different doesn’t mean they’re bad” and “oh shit, what the fuck, this is objectively fucked up and horrifying no matter what culture is doing it.” I think that dani’s anxieties about this specific struggle were depicted particularly well, and I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed the film as much as I did (which, to be clear...was not very much at all!) if it weren’t for her incredible performance. her facial expressions were almost a character of their own, and that character essentially carried this film lol
at the end of the day I think I’m just disappointed lmao. hereditary was SUCH a strong debut, and given the tight schedule the production was on, I can almost sympathize with aster—like, I have to wonder if he felt any pressure to replicate its success. knowing what I know now, after reading dozens of interviews and articles, the film does feel a little...unfinished to me! I think it definitely could’ve benefited from the extra time afforded by its initial august release date. I know that I personally would’ve liked it a hell of a lot more if every last character of color hadn’t been killed off, but hey! what can ya do!