Movie Hype Alert: HEREDITARY!

4 June 2018,

Good evening friendos!

I began the day with a dental appointment, (green across the board on the check-up and x-ray!), and then I’ve been writing my next novel and some freelance work for clients. Hella productive, feels great!

In this post, I want to talk about Hereditary, the Sundance horror film directed and written by Ari Aster. I first saw the trailer for it when I saw Deadpool 2 a couple weeks ago, and it immediately got my attention.

First, in case you haven’t seen it, check out the trailer:

Woof. I felt my skin crawl just watching that peek! I was introduced to A24 by The Witch, which shares a producer (Lars Knudsen)  with Hereditary and is another great, artistic, low budget, original, horror film. A24 seems to be pumping out great films (horror and otherwise) left and right, and I’m always happy to see a new one get a nationwide release!

So what do we see in the trailer? I like the way it gives us a taste of the type of scares we’ll experience, and enough of a character and plot introduction to tempt us with investment, without giving away too much plot information. You know, like a good trailer should!

We have a mother and a daughter as the main character. According to the IMDB, this is Annie Grahm, played by Toni Collette. (The mom in Little Miss Sunshine, one of my favorite comedies!!) I’m already intrigued by her character. She’s just lost a mother, who was apparently quite…eccentric, and clearly creepy. The whole vibe suggests that she was a witch. Who…also apparently insisted on exclusively breastfeeding Collete’s/Grahm’s own daughter. Oh, it also looks like Annie is a miniaturist (the little house and figures are hers) and I love the cinematography and horror possibilities that opens up! (She also looks cool wearing the magnifying glass headset thing!)

And then Annie’s daughter is Charlie. She’s played by Milly Shapiro, who according to Wikipedia, had great success, including a Tony Honor and a Grammy nomination, in the Matilda Broadway musical in 2013/14. With earning that level of achievement so young, I’m excited to see how Shapiro does as the unfortunately off-putting Charlie! I don’t know if Charlie has autism or what, but that blank stare and click tick, coupled with her apparent interest in making random trash and animal parts (poor bird!!) into art pieces are all delightfully creepy and interesting. She seems to take after her mother…and, if the heavy “witch” connotations are any indication, after her grandmother, in more ways than one …

We get tantalizing glimpses of ghostly grandmas, spontaneously-combusting dudes, eerily levitating dudes, ominous strings, and lots of Charlie going click. (And asking all-too-knowing questions about the aftermath of her mom’s apparently impending death.)

I love it. I’m going to see it this weekend and review it. I’m going to avoid reading more plot information, but the A24 webpage has some good, basic, non-spoiler info.

So, what are critics saying so far?

Rotten Tomatoes:

IMDB:

MetaCritic:

Adam Epstein has some good words about the topic of it being the “scariest movie in years:”

…Hereditary, though, feels different from the rest. The blurbs calling it “the scariest movie in years” read less like a pre-packaged marketing gimmick and more like earnest assessments by those who have seen it …

Sooo my hype meter is rising through the roof!

Besides that, I’ve looked around for other non-spoilery information:

Milly Shapiro comes across as charming and genuine in this pre-screening interview:

Awesome for her! 🙂

 

I enjoyed this interview with Toni Collete, too:

(Interview begins at :45. No spoilers, don’t worry.)

That’s encouraging to hear that the movie isn’t just scary, but is also as she says, about grief and how family dynamics change in the face of tragedy. I think the best horror movies are those that speak to real, human themes like that. I always appreciate seeing evidence of horror movies, like The Witch, or IT, being not only terrifying but also legitimately GOOD movies. Anyway in the interview: I also didn’t realize Collette was Australian, very cool. (And how she says the name of the country “‘strarya!” 😉 ) That’s legit that she meditates, too. You go, Toni.

 

Plus, this Mr. H interview with writer/director Ari Aster:

Aaaand based on that excellent interview, now I’m seeing this Friday, no matter what:

  • “Old school suspense but without relying on cheap scares.” (paraphrase)
  • Rosemary’s Baby is an inspiration
  • Aster seems genuine and humble. (e.g. giving all credit to A24 for the well-edited trailer.)
  • Horror has become “comfort food” and often simply rewards audiences for already knowing the formulas and tropes.
  • This film honors, but at the same time upends genre traditions.
  • The movie is character-centric, it satisfies the “genre stuff” but all the compelling horror of the film grows from the themes and the characters, and the film is at once a scary movie and a meditation on family suffering and sorrow.

For those who have a greater tolerance for spoilers than I do, here is Mr. H’s review, which I did not watch:

 

In conclusion, Hereditary looks incredible from the trailer, critics love it, and I’m excited to see it. I look forward to talking about it with you all this weekend.

I’m going to take care of some ROTC paperwork now, hit the gym, then sleep.

Goodnight, and sweet dreams.

-Geoff

 

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