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Opening Date
21 Jun 2018
M18 Some Nudity and Disturbing Scenes
126 mins
English - subtitles to be advised
Drama, Horror, Mystery
Ari Aster
Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff
When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter's family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited. Making his feature debut, writer-director Ari Aster unleashes a nightmare vision of a domestic breakdown that exhibits the craft and precision of a nascent auteur, transforming a familial tragedy into something ominous and deeply disquieting, and pushing the horror movie into chilling new terrain with its shattering portrait of heritage gone to hell.
By Yun-Huei  21 Jun 2018
writer-director Ari Aster has managed to create one of the most effectively creepy films in a long while
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Hereditary is a strange beast of a movie - while it boasts one of the best performances I’ve seen this year from Toni Collette, and writer-director Ari Aster has managed to create one of the most effectively creepy films in a long while, the film is completely undone by a deranged final reel, to the point that the most immediate movie reference that comes to mind was Mother! (assuredly not a great comparison for general audiences). An important point to note that this is a slow burn horror film taken to an extreme - not only is the scare count extremely low, the film takes a very long time to build up its narrative, which means “traditional” horror film buffs may find Hereditary rather lacking.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially since it’s clear that Hereditary is vested in coming across as being convincing in a “real world” logic, which means there will be a minimum of jump scares, ghostly apparitions and whatnot. But once again this begs the question of why Aster chose to end the film is such an unbelievable fashion - I was literally left with mouth agape at the multiple (rather ludicrous) reveals at in Hereditary’s denouement. The film’s over-two-hour running time also does it no favours, as there are many moments which felt extraneous to the plot, sapping it further of much-needed energy and momentum especially when the film crosses over the 90-minute mark.
It really is quite a pity as this is easily Toni Collette’s best performance in a long while - she really holds the movie together, even at its more logic-bending moments. Without an actress of Collette’s calibre anchoring the movie, Hereditary could have easily fallen into B-movie territory. Equally impressive are the young performers Milly Shapiro and Alex Wolff, with Shapiro in particular being particularly effective even though she appears in far less sequences than Wolff. The production, lighting and sound design is also excellent, with great attention to detail and really helps to create and maintain the atmosphere of dread. Unfortunately, that ending simply overshadowed everything else about Hereditary, and makes it a rather difficult movie to recommend.
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