scout’s review published on Letterboxd:
“I never wanted to be your mother.”
Hereditary is a chilling story about the Graham family of whom all the members of the family were destined to be doomed. Their journey to an essential damnation is so meticulously crafted that you can’t look away from the screen for even a minute or you’ll miss a piece of the story.
From the very beginning, the film is telling you to focus on Peter (the oldest son). The movie starts out with a dollhouse-like view into Peter’s bedroom and ends echoing that shot of Peter in the treehouse. These two shots are the beginning and end of Peter’s story. This movie was made to be viewed from Peter’s perspective, which was surprising to me because from the trailers i was definitely expecting to direct my attention towards Annie (Peter’s mother) or Charlie (Peter’s little sister). The film’s director even said that this movie shows a ritual from the sacrificial lamb’s perspective. Peter is one of the most sensitive characters throughout the entire movie. He doesn’t know how to comprehend a traumatic tragedy that occurs and he doesn’t have a release for his worsening emotional pain. So he’s emotionally worn down but also lives in fear of his mother after he has a near-death incident caused by his mother that occured years before, which Annie explains. Peter is in a very vulnerable state which makes him a perfect “sacrificial lamb” for the horrific events that take place.
I was blown away by the performances from Toni Collette and Alex Wolff. Toni did an excellent job, there were some moments where I could sympathize with all the pain she’s in, and other moments where she left me so horrified that I think nightmares about her are in my future. Alex delivers an amazing performance as well. He makes Peter seem very childlike in a way, he’s vulnerable, scared and deep down wants to be loved by his mother. The scenes of Peter crying really play into that sense of childlike fright and were some of the parts that actually hurt my heart a little bit, especially when he’s crying out “Mommy” in one scene.
Reviews complain about the ending, saying that there wasn’t enough of an emotional explanation of why things turned out the way they did or that there was no point for things to end that way. But as I said earlier, the slow haunting journey to the end was meticulously set up, making that ending inevitable, so I just accept the ending for what it is even if it’s not my personal favorite ending.
Walking out of the theater on-edge with my hands shaking, heart beating rapidly and a lingering sense of being haunted is the best reaction I’ve had to a horror film in forever. All in all, Hereditary is definitely a must see for horror fanatics. It’s a wonderful piece of modern horror and is worth the watch.