So again my pirate brother brought me another gem for movie night and I really didn’t think much of this movie when I saw it advertised because of the slew of garbage tier horror we’ve seen for a long time now. Like every James Wan movie ever and the blum house movies such as get out and quiet place. Total garbage movies that are hyped to hell and back to get the seals clapping make lots of money. But they’re shit, they never pass the fridge test because they’re hollow trashy movies about nothing ultimately.
There’s just been a wave of forgettable lame horror movies that pin out pointless sequels, mainly looking at the insidious franchise here. The first one was ok but the sequel was beyond ridiculous, pretending like that was there plan all along. Motherfucker you made a dumb horror movie and it made lots of money so you pulled some weird time travel tranny ghost story out of your ass, admit it. I daren’t even watch the others where the old lady is the main character and there’s a prequel, that’s a hard pass. The saw movies are ok I guess but they’re just gore porn, there’s no real artistry there and if you look at the latest movies, the acting and set design is indistinguishable from an actual porno.
Now Hereditary on the other hand is quite unironically a horror masterpiece. It’s basically a James Wan movie if it wasn’t just slocky over produced trash. It’s sort of a standard format horror movie turned on it’s head to be more like a drama. And one of the big criticism is that it’s not actually scary which is bullshit, what that actually means is that it has no jump scares in it, you heard me right, not one. But it has this sort of oppressive atmosphere throughout that is just insanely gripping. You just have no idea what’s going to happen next and the movie is so subtle it just can’t help but get under your skin.
The pacing is perfect, the length is perfect, believe me it needs every minute of that two hours, every pause, every silence is permeated with dread and it had me on the edge of my seat for two hours.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so just creeped out by a movie, so completely at the mercy of a piece of film. It has this constant theme of a doll house throughout because the main character is someone that makes dollhouses and it fits perfectly with the tone. Because the movie wants you to know that these people are not in control of their own destiny, they are dolls playing a part and you the audience too are powerless because you have no idea whats going on or who to trust.
It’s just such a powerful movie that knows how to use it’s power to great effect. It doesn’t beat you into submission with constant jump scares or gore. It hits you once really hard triggering your fear and sadness to an extreme degree and then it waits. And as the audience the fear builds waiting for the next gut punch.
I really don’t know what to say about but it’s just an excellent piece of film making. Everything about it is handled so perfectly. Very little really happens in the movie and it doesn’t really expand out from the house but it feels like a rollercoaster you can’t get off. The visuals are amazing, it’s haunting from beginning to end and there isn’t a single jump scare. Comparing it to quiet place, they never really leave the farm in that and it feels like there’s no journey but in Hereditary it’s an emotional/spiritual journey so them not leaving the house much isn’t really an issue. Whereas in quiet place we’re sort of lead to believe an emotional journey has taken place when really we’ve just been running around a corn field with a big monster chasing us around.
But it’s getting a lot of push back from the jump scare addicted audience as expected. I think why jump scares would ruin this movie is because jump scares are almost tension release valves. Something spooky is happening then something pops up and says ‘Boo’ then its over and you can laugh about it with your friends. But this movie never lets you go, it never releases that tension, it just keeps it going and pulling you deeper down. There’s no comic relief like Get out, there’s no relief at all. It’s a total onslaught on your senses and your psyche and it puts you right in Tony Collette’s shoes.
The performances were amazing, Tony Collette in this is spellbinding, I don’t think I’ve seen someone play crazy as well as her. You see that a lot in movies where someone is screaming ‘you have to believe me’ and they look crazy and you’re screaming at the tv ‘believe her!’ because you know they’re not crazy because you’re seeing what they see. But in this movie she was just so fucking crazy I didn’t want to believe her. And there are parts of the movie that are so horrifying you just wish they were a dream and the characters do too, it’s amazingly powerful. It manages to put right where they are all the time.
I don’t know how to describe it any other way than just this slow descent into horror and madness and misery that you just can’t look away from.
Some of the critiques are that it kind retreads old ground and I have a saying ‘I’ve seen it before and better’ and yeah everything in this movie I’ve seen before but not better. I don’t care if a movie borrows from something else or is in someway derivative if it’s good or it elevates what came before in someway which this definitely does.
If I had to compare it to something it’s basically The wickerman meets insidious or sinister, a really deep and dark horror movie sort of wearing the skin of a slocky jump scarefest. But even today looking back something like the wickerman doesn’t scare me (and in the case of the Nicolas Cage version makes me laugh) but this movie not only scared me it deeply unsettled me on many levels and stayed with me for awhile. Not only the trepidation but the themes.
Something you don’t get from a lot of horror films these days, not just scares but real deep sorrow. There are worse things than dying sometimes living is harder, you can watch Jason slash up a million co-eds but can you watch someone break down mentally and spiritually after the death of a child? This movie perfectly portrays living with loss and it adds to this melancholy and dread a little of what made Silent Hill 2 so powerful. Not just the horror but the sadness, the horror of being alone, the horror of being unloved. The horror in sadness. It’s coming at you from so many different directions overwhelming you with sadness and fear and loathing all at once.
I mean you see a horror movie like Get out and it’s basically a comedy. It has a comedy director and for the most part comedy actors trying to bring to life this laughable script about brain swapping. Then you have quiet place and we’re supposed to believe they’re sad about the kid dying but we’re never introduced to the kid and no one talks about it because they can’t so it’s never addressed. And you’re supposed to be sad when the dad dies /spoilers/ haha. But it just felt kinda cheap and unearned.
Neither of these hugely successful horror movies have the kind of emotional weight of Hereditary and thus can’t come close to the levels of horror (in every sense of the word) it can convey.
It’s what the horror genre has been missing for a long time, serious film making. Not just idiots trying to spin a buck and tell some goofy story about sound monsters or inter racial brain swaps. But genuine love and attention and talent.
This movie is a work of art if only for the visuals. But pair that with the acting and set design, story, pacing and it’s truly a horror classic and I seriously mean that. I think this movie should be up their with the Shining and the Thing as horror movie that just lives on and on and I hope it becomes a cult classic.
Go out and watch it, and then watch it again, I know I will.