Nardo Says HEREDITARY Is A Mind Mingling Menace.

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FILM REVIEW: HEREDITARY

BY JESSICA MARIE NARDO

Family dynamics can be viewed in multiple facets, and films have been manipulating those ideals for some time. None more telling than the idea of handing down something from generation to generation. These things can be an array of inheritances, say like property or an heirloom, as well as characteristics or genetic factors. It’s difficult to pinpoint which one Ari Aster was thinking about when he concocted the mind mingling menace that is Hereditary. Between the eerie pace, magnetic performances and questionable placement of visceral visuals, one can’t help but be thankful that they only thing getting past down to them is Grandpa’s gout.

We meet the Grahams in the time of seemly tragic loss of the monarch of the family. Standing at the alter giving a haunting eulogy is daughter Annie Graham, played by the ever-outstanding Toni Collette. As she unrolls her words, it’s clear that there is a disconnect with the death of her mother and that trickles into how the family is ran now. Plain Jane husband Steve, Gabriel Bryne, tries to normalize the odd ball clan which produces two very different offsprings. The unnervingly shy daughter Charlie, brought to an uncomfortable life by new comer Milly Shaprio, mopes about the house in over size sweaters, clicking her tongue & creating left handed drawings of all she sees. Even things that probably shouldn’t be drawn. Alex Wolff perfectly fits the picture of a misfit teenage boy that can barely lift his feet from the ground, that is until he begins to be the center of some seriously unwanted attention.

At it’s core, family values are morphed in a way that leave the audience uneasy but almost understanding to a point. Collette does a killer combination of how a mother would do anything for her children but can get lost on ‘how’ portion of doing that. The performance is matched to the pace of the story that is there but not there at the same time. Cinematographer Pawel Pogorzelski has done a great job with dim lit transition such as demonstrated in Water for Elephants. That same smothering tension is matched by the fact that music is almost nonexistent until Aster feels it’s right to let the audience into the real darkness that lies here. It’s this continuous build that is so tender but heavy that at the same time it can dig into the caves of the mind and leave a gaping hole that grows after the credits.

Watching Hereditary passes on more than your average horror to the audience. It gives you thought provoking questions, powerful evocative feelings and swirling notions of what to make of this damn film in the end yet, it works. With Get Out bring Jordan Peele a much deserved Oscar, it begs to hope if we will finally see horror claim the top spot next year with something as surreal as this Aster work of wonders.

 

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