Joey Lubanski’s review published on Letterboxd:
A culmination of everything the Horror genre has been leading up towards.
Since I was a kid, horror has always been a favorite genre of mine. Birthdays were spent with my uncle binge watching movies like Vincent Price’s “The Pit and the Pendulum”, Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” or other more obscure gems like “Day Of The Triffids”.
Hereditary is everything I had hoped the genre would become.
Now here are all my wordy thoughts on the matter
—- Acting —-
You cannot leave 2018 without talking about the powerhouse of a performance Toni Collette gave in this movie. All the other actors did great jobs in their own respective roles, but Collette was on another level. You could argue that this was the reason the film was so good, was largely due to her and her role. The pain, and mental anguish that she portrayed in this movie was so believable that it makes you feel guilty for not stepping through the screen and helping her out. Just take a second glance at the scene at the dinner table with her son, and you will see what I mean.
—- Sound Design—-
The sound design in this movie was absolutely outstanding. The way they used the same anxiety paced beat throughout the movie drove the tension through the roof. There are a couple scenes in this movie that if not done properly, could end up being laughable. But due to the score and sound design they end up being terrifying.
The cinematography in this film was more on the simple side. It felt almost like if Wes Anderson had directed a horror movie (sign me up for that). I think that the static positioned camera in some scenes was a great idea and forced you to view the events happening as if you were looking at the room right in front of you. They used more dynamic shots as the film went on which I think added to the great pacing it had. They also took extra time to show the characters facial expressions longer then most horror films these days, which I appreciated.
Another important note would be the set design itself. There was a lot of thought that went into were things in the house should be placed, and they were crucial to the story. For example, putting Peter’s room window in full view of the treehouse added to the story telling in ways that words would have failed.
So with all that being said, this movie was an outstanding horror experience that we haven’t gotten in a while. The brilliance was in how ordinary everything felt, before it all went wrong. It was dark, twisted and genuinely scary. That being said, we don’t need to go darker then this. I think the genre has pushed the envelope as far as it needs to, and to go further would be doing a disservice to story telling in horror films.
One of my favorite things about this movie is the concept of the main character “Annie’s” hobby/job. It really is an explanation of why horror is a great medium to tell storys. In the movie she takes horrible messed up events, and builds tiny dioramas that take a nuetral look at what’s actually happening. It’s a way that she copes with the stuff in her life, and the things that scare her. I think the same goes for horror movies. They are a place to go experience fear but in a controlled setting, where at the end of it you can turn off the TV and return to reality. I think adding this was a very nice nod to the genre as a whole.