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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Hereditary 2018 * * 1/2 Stars

HereditaryDirector: Ari Aster
Year: 2018
Rated R
Rating: * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Gabriel Byrne

"Don't you ever raise your voice to me, I'm your mother!" So quips the character of Annie Graham in Hereditary. Graham is shown in a couple of close-up scenes shivering like Danny Torrance in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. It's a valiant effort but it pales in comparison to what Kubrick did with grainy early 80's, lens chic.

Anyway, Hereditary contains decapitations and spiritual seances. It has buzzing flies and scaling demons. It boasts plenty of adolescent weed smoking and head-scratching dollhouse construction. Finally, Hereditary heralds a performance from Toni Collette that's better than her Oscar-nominated turn in The Sixth Sense.

Taking place in mountainous Utah and directed by a first-timer (NYC's own Ari Aster), Hereditary's blueprint story involves a family dealing with the loss and grief of veritable loved ones. The movie then veers more into mumbo jumbo territory with a screw loose ending involving naked Paimon spirits.

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Hereditary, which has a trailer that's very misleading, isn't just about a dead grandmother and a creepy thirteen-year-old who makes noises with her jaw. No there's much more going on than that. Maybe too much and not of the overriding kind.

In truth, I may have gotten a slight Amityville Horror/Shining vibe from watching Hereditary. Too bad I can't garner a recommendation. What can I say, it takes a heck of a lot more than contrived references and manner over substance to get me scared.

For what it's worth, helmer Aster does an impressive job with a $10 million dollar budget. His camerawork is supreme, he bounces off of Hitchcock, and he sets up a lot of his shots well. His Kubrickian-like direction laced with art house novelty is assured but for all the wrong reasons. Hereditary goads you and baits you into thinking you'll be frightened out of your seat. The problem is that nothing ever quite comes to fruition making Hereditary the ultimate cinematic tease.

Image result for hereditary 2018 movie scenesIn conclusion, many critics have already hailed Hereditary as a horror masterpiece. I for one think it's too slow burned, too faux inducing, too baffling, and a bit overrated. Hereditary may offer a few eldritch moments but it doesn't "inherit" greatness. My rating: 2 and a half stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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