I'll start off by saying that after seeing this movie, I felt like I needed to immediately go to Church, just to wash off the evil that I witnessed in "Hereditary." Things happen in this film that made me think that I'm watching something that I really shouldn't be watching. The premise of the story is definitely the most haunting thing about it, and the main reason why you should or shouldn't see it. I can see why people are comparing this to "The Exorcist," although I'll argue that it doesn't top that classic horror film.
I got to give a lot of accolades to Writer-Director Ari Aster for making a fantastic piece of horror cinema. He pulled from a lot of classic scary movie techniques, mashed them all together, and mixed them with his own vision. The ominous tone. The creepy sound design. The scary imagery. The slow burn that builds up to a frightening pace. The subversion of familiar tropes. The unnerving and unsettling plot. Even the specific framing of certain scenes that mimics how one looks at doll houses, all add to an incredible package of a horror movie. It also helps that it has a very talented cast of actors, from Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Ann Dowd, and Gabriel Byrne.
It's not all perfect however. There were some scenes that I genuinely thought were kinda boring, and left me restless to move things along. Some of the actions by certain characters also seemed to rely on particular caveats and coincidences, just for the sake of the plot. Despite the hype surrounding this film, it's not what I would consider the scariest movie of all time either; but it is better than most. I can imagine some people might not even find it scary at all, and end up frustrated by some of the more artistically stylistic decisions this film makes to try and scare a movie audience.
With some of my more critical thoughts out of the way, I still can't deny the effect it had on me as a scary movie. There are some scenes that I simply will not be forgetting anytime soon, and will cause me to question some of the things I see in the corner of my eye. There will be moments; and there already have been, when I would have a slight pause from hearing a bump in the night, because that's how much this film creeped me out.
For those people who aren't used to watching horror movies, I can only imagine "Hereditary" being really successful in making a big impact on them. Possibly even in a traumatic way. For horror movie veterans, I think it'll be more a case of appreciating what was pulled off on screen, and still succumbing to some effecting scares. Either way, this is a solid horror movie all around.
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