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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

Hereditary (2018) - Secrets and Spirits

Rating: ★★★☆☆(3/5 Stars)

Released 06-08-2018

Watched 05-26-2024

Reviewed 06-11-2024

Watched on Max

"It's heartening to see so many strange, new faces here today. I know my mom would be very touched, and probably a little suspicious."

“Hereditary,” directed by Ari Aster, is a psychological horror film that plunges deep into the unsettling dynamics of a family haunted by a mysterious and malevolent legacy. While the film has garnered significant praise for its eerie atmosphere and stellar performances, it isn’t without its flaws. Here’s a closer look at what makes “Hereditary” a solid three-star experience.

Toni Collette delivers a powerhouse performance as Annie, the grieving mother, grappling with the death of her own mother and the unraveling of her family’s dark secrets. Her portrayal is raw, emotional, and utterly captivating, making her the film’s standout. The film creates a foreboding atmosphere with a visual style that enhances the sense of dread. Cinematographer Pawel Pogorzelski masterfully uses lighting and camera angles to keep viewers on edge. The storyline is layered with psychological depth and supernatural elements, weaving a complex narrative that keeps the audience guessing. The themes of grief, mental illness, and family trauma are explored in a way that is both compelling and thought-provoking.

However, at times, the film’s pacing feels uneven, with a slow buildup that might test the patience of some viewers. While the tension is palpable, the deliberate pace can make the 127-minute runtime feel longer than necessary. “Hereditary” attempts to juggle multiple themes and plot points, which can occasionally lead to a sense of confusion. The film’s ambition is admirable, but it sometimes feels like it’s biting off more than it can chew, especially in its third act. Despite its originality, “Hereditary” still falls back on some familiar horror conventions, which may disappoint viewers looking for a completely fresh take on the genre.

“Hereditary” is a well-crafted horror film that offers a unique blend of psychological and supernatural elements, anchored by a stellar performance from Toni Collette. However, its pacing issues and overly ambitious narrative prevent it from reaching its full potential. It’s a haunting and memorable film, but not without its shortcomings.

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