FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: Last night I saw “Hereditary,” which stars Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine, The Way Way Back), Alex Wolff (The Naked Brothers Band [TV series], Patriots Day), Gabriel Byrne (The Usual Suspects, Miller’s Crossing), Milly Shapiro and Ann Dowd (Compliance, Garden State). It is written and directed by Ari Aster (Midsommar, C’est la Vie [Short]). After the death of her mother, Annie (Collette) finds herself uneasy at her home as she feels there is a haunting presence. Soon enough, horrific events escalate her superstitions, drawing out an unlikely circumstance for her and her family.
It’s getting close to that time of the year again, so another horror movie review is in order! This time around we have “Hereditary,” that one summer thriller that got some good buzz. I intended to actually see it in theaters (the nerve of me), but was drawn to “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” instead. Was it the right choice having seen both now? Yes, yes it was. While it boasts some killer performances and great cinematography, “Hereditary” ultimately flops in its disappointing story. I try to give horror flicks the benefit of the doubt; I really do. However, most of the ones I’ve seen end up being abysmal, offensive pieces of cinema that I could care less about. Now don’t think “offensive” means it had some PC message that was trying to get shoved down my throat. In fact, what “Hereditary” thrives on in its story is a lot of what other horror features seem to lean on: demonic and demented ideologies. Sure, we all know this crap ain’t real, but do I want to go out of my way to watch it? Not really. I mean, I enjoy the show “Supernatural,” but only because of its loveable characters and fun adventures. It also has (in its heyday) great writing; something that “Hereditary” found trouble in. The biggest disappointing thing about “Hereditary” though was how it was actually a captivating experience in the first half. It had solid dialogue that felt genuine and the story never gave itself away by any means. I spent more time picking my brain as to what the whole thing was about than anything (which, while sounding bad, was actually very refreshing). There’s a mystery to this story more so than the actual horror, as most of what is shown is more an investigative and character study piece. The characters have a lot of depth to them, especially Toni Collette’s character of Annie. She killed it in that role, and I was hooked into her character from the get-go. As was the same for the rest of the cast, with some solid performances handed in by Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, and Gabriel Byrne. They really created an organic family bond that’s quite surprising to be found in a horror feature. If only the story did them justice. For a little over two hours, I watched as this movie went from engaging mystery to sleazy horror-fest. I should’ve expected it, coming from its genre background, but I hoped that it was leading somewhere grand. There’s many seeds planted throughout the whole picture without much of an indication as to what path the filmmakers want to take us down. There were some twists I didn’t expect, and it was only until the final act that I wasn’t satisfied. With that said, I want to state that I have no intention of spoiling what happens. If you want to see it, go ahead, but you may find yourself just as disappointed. It’s as if what the filmmakers were building to was suddenly pushed aside for a cheap plot development that was solely for the fans who wanted something creepy and with a cult flare. I didn’t expect the ending to be happy, but I at least hoped that it sparked some sort of moral or theme to take away with. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. It was pretty much a spontaneous, messed up situation dealt to this poor family without any sense of thought. I shook my head as the final minutes played out, with my brother saying “what a waste of time” behind me. It’s as if I was experiencing “It Follows” again, for any of you who were unfortunate enough to watch that blunder. I wanted to like “Hereditary,” I really did. Heck, for most of it I was given plenty of reasons to like it. However, no matter how good of build-up you give, if your ending is trash the movie will never be remembered. And that’s exactly how I feel about this movie. While it holds fantastic performances, great cinematography, and even a cool score, “Hereditary” fails to make the mark as if ultimately falls back on its cheap horror genre to tie up its loose story ends. FINAL SCORE: 58%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer: