Review: ‘Hereditary’ is a great film, but is it a classic?

Jordan Boyer, Editor-in-Chief

Hereditary was a great and well executed film, with Ari Aster writing and directing the film. This is Aster’s debut feature film, and he certainly did a wonderful job writing and directing the film.

Other reviewers and viewers have compared the film to horror legends such as The Exorcist and Psycho, but does it deserve this massive praise?

The film follows a family after the recent death of their grandmother. After the death, strange occurrences happen with the family members.

The film makes it well known that there is something seriously off with the family, especially with the characters Charlie Graham (the daughter) played by Milly Shapiro, and Annie Graham (the mother) played by Toni Collette.

Both Charlie and Annie have an artistic side to their characters. Charlie is frequently shown either drawing very disturbing images, or creating makeshift dolls out of various objects. While Annie has made a career out of her artistic side, making models of houses and other various structures, she also makes little wax humans to put into her scale houses.

Both of these aspects are important for the plot and directing of the film. While Charlie’s artistry is important for the plot, Annie’s artistry is important for the film aspects. Aster uses different sizes and proportions constantly in the film. Some scenes, while in the real world, seem to be inside of one of Annie’s model houses. In fact the first scene starts with a model of the family’s house with the camera closing in on the son Peter’s room, and the real life Peter (played by Alex Wolff) and father Steve (played by Gabriel Byrne) are in the room.

The cinematography goes along with this idea of the model houses. Some scenes are shot so the viewer feels like they are looking into a model house and not a real house. Imagine looking into a model house window, that’s the perspective the camera puts you in during some scenes.

At the end of the first act, the viewer is shocked and questions where the film is going, and what is really going on in the background of the story.

The film is certainly a slow burn, and the scares come in non-conventional means. The second act is the longest part of the “slow burn,” and it can drag on in some scenes. However, the third act has the viewer on the edge of their seat the whole time, and the ending scene is absolutely shocking and unsettling.

Now while there is a supernatural aspect to the film, the film perfectly displays the very real aspects of a family going through grief and depression after the loss of a loved one. The family starts to fall apart because of this grief, and the hidden text of the actual premise of the film starts to seep into the story.

The family drama aspect is the strongest aspect of the film. It is extremely real and relatable for viewers.

The film does an excellent job of making the viewer feel uneasy, and delivers small shocks in the non-conventional way, unlike other horror movies that follow the many horror tropes such as massive gore and jump out scares.

The directing and cinematography were absolutely amazing. The actors did wonderful jobs with their performances, especially Toni Collette, who stole the show in every scene with her outstanding performance as Annie.

However, many people are already calling this film a classic. It is too soon to say that, and people seem to not point out the flaws in the film.The second act is where the film starts to slow down significantly, and while it still has suspense, it does certainly drag on.

The premise of the film, while very interesting, does become slightly hard to follow at some points. The film is not as scary as many reviewers say, it is more creepy and unsettling than anything, in most scenes. The climax was great, but it could of been done a little better, with slightly more intensity and context.

Despite the small shortcomings, the film was excellent. I recommend it highly for fans of horror and thrillers. If you are looking for a horror film that takes a different approach compared to others, this film is certainly for you.

The full trailer can be viewed here.

Jordan Boyer is a senior history major, he can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].