After the death of her mother, Annie (Toni Collette) is grieving, as is the rest of her family – her husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne), her son Peter (Alex Wolff) and her daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro). They try to get back to normal, but strange and stranger things start to happen with them and around them.
Not everything about Hereditary worked for me, but a lot of it did. It is definitely above average, even if it left me undecided about a couple of things.
For most of its running time, Hereditary works perfectly. It straddles the line between thriller and horror, mixing both genres very well and drawing tension from both. In the end, when it starts to leave the thriller elements behind more and more, it starts to overdo it in general and kind of jumps the shark with the reveals, but up until that point, I was with it.
The characters were really great, finely honed by Aster in his writing, with a good eye for family dynamics as well as individual characteristics. It must have been great for the actors to sink their teeth into such fine writing, and they really do them justice. There is a particular scene that has immediately etched itself in my memory due to its emotional impact: Peter’s reaction (including Wolff’s performance) to a shocking moment. It really got under my skin.
I was generally very involved in the film, but it did leave me mulling things over. I’m not sure if I’m so happy about the role women play in the film and what to make of Charlie’s disability or rather, how her disability is portrayed in the film: Charlie is constantly othered, her being different and weird and maybe even out of this world in combination with her unusual facial features and ticks, it just makes the point over and over again that being disabled isn’t normal. Which is bullshit.
Despite that, I found Hereditary definitely worth seeing. It’s creepy, affecting and looks really good. I will be interested to see what Aster does next.