An Arguing With Myself Review: Hereditary
When her mother passes away, Annie (Toni Collette), her husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne), son Peter (Alex Wolff) and daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro) all mourn her loss. The family turn to different means to handle their grief. They each begin to have experiences linked to the sinister secrets and emotional trauma that have been passed through the generations of their family.
Hereditary is one of those films whose trailer doesn’t match the film you eventually see. It looked like it was going to be scene after scene of disturbing images. The end result was only half true.
Hereditary intrigued me. When it was released, most viewers labeled it the “scariest film of 2018”. A hyperbolic statement, sure, but it coincided with what I saw in the trailer. Then, I heard the opposite opinion from two reputable sources that the film was terrible. They were Shane from the Media Mosh Podcast and Arguing With Myself’s resident horror queen, The Mrs. (Melanie Frodel). I listened to their issues with it but was determined to make my own assessment. To further my need to see Hereditary, Sir Jon from The Pint “called me out” on Twitter and demanded I see it. It’s true! He even hash tagged it with “sirjondemandsit”.
So, I’ve dangled the proverbial carrot long enough. Without further ado. Drumroll please…….I liked it! Hear me out, though. I admit, the first half of Hereditary was the slowest part. The music used was disingenuous. It made the scenes seem creepy without any real sense of menace onscreen. As if something horrific was just about to happen…then nothing. I understand this is the part of the film that informs you about the family. Giving you insight to their familial strife. Nothing really happens until one incident, then after, the film begins to pick up. The house of cards begins to fall.
The music may not have worked for me in the film’s first half but coalesced in the latter. Then it added another layer of uneasiness on screen. Performances by everyone, including Toni Collette, draws you in to the film’s emotional rollercoaster. I went in expecting nothing…No, that’s not true. I thought I’d at least come out of it thinking, I wasted two hours of my time. Two hours I could’ve better spent doing something else. Instead, I’m STILL thinking of Hereditary. The images are ingrained in my psyche.
I can see the writer/director of the film, Ari Aster, was heavily influenced by Rosemary’s Baby. If you think about it, there isn’t a lot that occurs in the beginning of the ’68 classic until well into the film. The ideas and setups of Hereditary are boldly original. In one scene (you’ll know it when you see it), I shouted, “OH!” and cringed for a good two minutes. I couldn’t believe what I had seen. There are plenty of WTF moments throughout but I can see how others may not appreciate what Hereditary has added to the horror genre. Primarily due to its pacing. For those who haven’t seen Hereditary, go into it knowing nothing and for those that have seen it, revisit with new eyes. See what you might’ve missed.
There are varying degrees of what frightens us. For some, they may be impatient and demand jump scares more frequently. This is not that film. I may be known as the guy that “doesn’t like horror” (I like it, when it’s done right) but what I DO like is a conversation over differing opinions. And Hereditary will have that in spades.