Hereditary ★★★

Apathy. The fatal flaw is apathy. Steve doesn’t care enough to tell his wife about the desecration. Annie doesn’t care enough about either of her children’s feelings. Peter doesn’t care enough to watch over his sister at the party. When Peter does care, it’s too late, she dies. When Annie does care, it’s too late, her son doesn’t trust her anymore. When Steve does care, it’s too late, his wife is consumed by fear and paranoia. If we allow ourselves to remain in this state - the state in which we inevitably inherit from our parents, our spouses, or our children - then we all are living our own tragedy.

This is all set up very well and carried through until the end of the second act. And then...

Okay, so even if the film has a strong thematic pull from the onset, I will still say that, functionally, this is an outrageously silly horror film that plays it WAY too seriously. I was giggling throughout. I am not alone on this. It’s partly due to Toni Collette’s absolutely committed performance and partly due to the shoehorned supernatural elements. Regardless of whether you agree or not on its tone, I think we can all agree that the first two-thirds are MASSIVELY entertaining.

But that last third reveals that the ideas set up don’t have a sufficient conclusion - the supernatural element overwhelms and the baby is thrown out with the bath water. I spent the last ten minutes of this not caring in the slightest what was to happen - once we know the fate is absolutely inescapable, then everything else SHOULD be a denouement, not even more lead up to the inevitable. It becomes a slog of every horror movie cliche it successfully avoided in its final scenes. One of the worst endings in quite some time. A real bummer too because it’s otherwise a supremely confident directorial debut.

(See also: Mike D’Angelo’s review)

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