Ari Aster’s directorial debut, HEREDITARY released in 2018, took the horror genre by storm, leaving audiences both terrified and enthralled. This chilling tale of a family unraveling in the face of supernatural forces and deeply ingrained trauma was a milestone in modern horror cinema. As we look back on this film, it’s clear that HEREDITARY transcended the genre’s conventions, offering a haunting and unforgettable experience that continues to resonate with viewers.
At the heart of HEREDITARY lies the disintegration of the Graham family, particularly the mother, Annie, portrayed masterfully by Toni Collette. The film explores themes of grief, mental illness, and the complex dynamics within families. The Grahams are haunted by a legacy of emotional turmoil and mental instability, which is artfully depicted through their interactions and the ominous atmosphere that envelops them.
Toni Collette’s performance as Annie is nothing short of extraordinary. She skillfully portrays a mother grappling with her past and present, slowly losing her grip on reality. Collette’s ability to convey a range of emotions, from grief and desperation to terror and madness, elevates “Hereditary” to a level of cinematic excellence rarely seen in the horror genre.
Alex Wolff and Milly Shapiro, who play Annie’s children, also deliver outstanding performances, adding depth to their respective characters and enhancing the film’s overall impact. Wolff’s portrayal of Peter, the troubled son, showcases his emotional range as he becomes a reluctant participant in the family’s descent into darkness. Meanwhile, Milly Shapiro’s portrayal of Charlie, the enigmatic daughter, is both eerie and captivating.
Ari Aster’s approach to horror in HEREDITARY is masterful in its subtlety. He understands that what is left unseen can often be more terrifying than what is shown. The film employs a slow and deliberate build-up, creating a constant sense of dread that permeates every scene. This technique keeps the audience on edge, uncertain of what horrors may lurk around the corner.
The infamous telephone pole scene, in which a sudden and gruesome accident occurs, remains one of the most shocking moments in contemporary horror. Aster’s ability to make the audience feel the impact of this event is a testament to his storytelling and directorial prowess.
HEREDITARY skillfully blends psychological horror with the supernatural. The film presents a chilling mythology involving demon worship, necromancy, and ancestral curses. While these elements are integral to the plot, they are used sparingly, allowing the audience’s imagination to fill in the terrifying details.
The climax of the film reveals the full extent of the supernatural forces at play, leading to a harrowing and unforgettable conclusion that leaves viewers in a state of shock.
HEREDITARY is a cinematic tour de force that redefined horror for a new generation. Ari Aster’s meticulous direction, coupled with outstanding performances by the cast, delivered a film that goes beyond mere scares and explores the depths of familial trauma and the horrors that can be passed down through generations.
This retrospective of HEREDITARY acknowledges its enduring impact on the horror genre and its ability to resonate with audiences, continuing to haunt our collective nightmares long after its initial release.