Hereditary ★★★★½

Of recent forms taken by horror movies one I love dearly is the horror movie that fronts like its a drama and then pulls off its Prestige Drama Mask to show you the Spirit Store Halloween Mask it is wearing underneath and let me tell you Hereditary SIMPLY CANNOT WAIT to show you its cheap and lurid multiple-exposure xerox heart. Hereditary would have been an Amityville knock-off gathering dust atop its clamshell in a local video hut in 1982 or just as easily a Made-For-TV-Dinner circa 1977 with faded celebrities usually associated with the Love Boat or Hollywood Squares in cloaks waving around sacrificial daggers or it could be something that showed up on Redbox unannounced in 2010 with generic window art of a distended mouth screaming or fake night-vision or a distended mouth screaming in fake night vision and a title that is close enough to Paranormal Activity to get the point across but not close enough to get sued by Paramount. Intentional and obvious bait and switch is a primary delight in a movie of this sort and once I locked onto that groove I was totally down. There is something going on in our current horror cycle where the quiet and naturalistic strain of horror is folding in on itself to produce parodic, baroque forms, a naturalism which announces itself as stagy artifice, calling attention to its own limits, its own affectations and histrionics and then pushes those affectations and histrionics right off the table like a cat displacement action just to watch its satisfying fall to the floor and what happens after. Hereditary is a dumb movie and I hail Satan that it is because I wouldn't have wanted to see the not-dumb version. The dumb that Hereditary is fills me with a warm and positive glow inside, the kind of lazy grin which approaches laughter, frequently showing up when you remember something stupid fondly and remind yourself to think more about that thing later because it is pleasing to do so. I know I have said this before but the repackaging of exploitation and z-grade occult horror into multiplexes that I can easily drive to is something that I will never tire of, clapping my hands together in delight as I arise from my seat and the house lights come up. <3