After the death of her mother, a grief-struck artist finds her family under siege from supernatural forces with cryptic ties to her ancestry.
Billed as the ‘scariest film of the year’, the most pressing question is, of course, does Hereditary live up to the hype?
The short answer is ‘yes’, however this does a great disservice to a film that is, in fact, two thirds family drama to one one part horror rather than thrill coaster of scares many reviews would have you believe.
Early scenes are more concerned with guilt and recriminations around the dinner table, the supernatural intrusions are (at first), fleeting and inconsequential. An encounter between matriarch Annie with a glimpsed spectre in the dark builds to an apparent jump-scare that never comes likewise an impromptu seance is brought down to earth with a slap.
Rather than undercutting the atmosphere, this constant build is akin to a cinematic shephard tone of tension. Though eventually giving way to a crowd pleasing final twenty minutes of more conventional scares and horror movie tropes (Any movie character should know you NEVER venture into the attic), it’s never more effective than these early scenes.
However, despite the self-assured direction from first-time feature director Ari Aster the film belongs to Toni Collette. Vascillating between reserved and hysterical over the course of the film, her Annie is never short of believable keeping the film grounded even as it begins to slide into Rosemary’s Baby territory where familial guilt gives way to witchcraft.
So, the scariest film of the year then? The screening I sat in had more than it’s fair share of drawn out expletives that’s for sure.
A must see? Definitely.
Hereditary is screening at thescreen Stortford on Tuesday 21 August and Thursday 23 August at 7.30pm – book tickets now.