Robbie K here, ready to try and do another movie justice in his reviews and observations. Tonight’s focus is on a horror movie that looked very disturbing, chilling to the bone, and potentially containing a high creep factor to really make you squirm in your seats. Yes, assuming you read the title of the movie on your way into this review I’m giving you my thoughts and observations on…
Creepy: The trailers didn’t lie, Hereditary is creepy as heck and not afraid to flaunt it in so many forms. While not loaded with jump scares that many love, Hereditary is all about using shadows and the edge of your vision to make you see things. It uses subtle sounds to keep you on the edge, and reveals just enough to keep you further engrossed in the thrills. Hereditary also is not afraid to cross the line to really get a reaction going, sometimes to the point of intensely disturbing visuals that one does not expect to see. Yet, my friends and I all agreed that the true creep factor comes from how realistic this movie is, at least at the beginning. The questions of how much is true and how much potential psychosis is helps depict some of the more extreme cases of mental illness and how dangerous and intense this disease can be.
The Setting: A creepy movie requires a setting to bring it to life and this movie has got that going on for it too. The house is classic, semi isolated from town, with enough nooks and crannies to generate shadows that hide in the light. It’s not these random temples or abandoned houses, but an actual lived in home that brings that realism to light and immerses you into the movie. And if you don’t care about the creepy shadows and lights the movie holds, then just enjoy the beauty of the house, especially if you were dragged to the movie to begin with.
Dynamic Story Changes: A fancy way of saying twisting transition, Hereditary’s writer certainly new how to adjust the script to bring a different atmosphere with the movie. At first more of a psycho thriller with some potential horror elements, the movie manages to gradually fluctuate into other genres. It evolves into different types of horrors, and with it brings more levels of disturbing twists to begin to connect semi-vague pieces together. It certainly a bit haphazard and mashed like a play, but I give props for a writer willing to switch gears from time to time. In addition, some of the lengths they go to shake things up are certainly risky, but with it generating some reaction you weren’t quite expecting.
Long: Heritage certainly does the job of tying up loose ends and making sure everything is explained (which of course is a like). Sadly, it takes a little too long to get to that point and in a very complex manner that is almost like going around your elbow to get to your thumb. The second act, and partially the third act, were very drawn out, boring to the point of trying to make these connections in a mask of coping mechanisms. Again, it’s realism and portrayal are awesome, but as the direction of the movie starts to change, these weird transitions start to feel a bit too odd and not worth your time.
The Goofy Faces: Some of the movie tried to bring some torturous reactions in the non-verbal acting. Poor Toni Collette came off with some rather goofy, perhaps unintentional, faces that were funny and looked more like being stoned or maybe getting brain freeze. Her son Peter (Alex Wolff) didn’t turn out much better, as his own facial dynamics were, well goofy as well, primarily in that buck toothed, stoned look that was meant to be exhaustion.
The Acting: Don’t get me wrong, the acting was mostly decent, if not good, primarily in the portrayal of mental illness and fear. Yet there were times where hysterical crying, yelling, and blubbering were again a little too much and went down the wrong path. I’m not trying to pick on Wolff, but his hysterical crying was a little too forced for me and seemed incredibly fake compared to the rest of his performance. Why this gimmick was done more than once, not really known, but I can’t say that it was a direction I would have taken.
The Tongue Clicking: Not quite an as annoying as the trailers made it out, the use of the tongue clicking was decent at times, but a little over used. Whether it was the amplification by the speakers, or maybe just the excessive/random moments, this device started to grow annoyingly humorous and needed to stop. Thank goodness they got light of it and didn’t bombard us too much with it.
The Complexity: A complex plot makes you think, makes you question, and more importantly keeps you engaged. This movie accomplished those goals, but when the ending finally came through and the final transition happened, the complexity felt stupid and unneeded. Again, it supports the ending, but because of how much I didn’t like the ending, this complexity just didn’t feel the right direction to me outside of extending the film. Complexity can be good with a real good finish, (which some may like), but for this reviewer the ends didn’t justify the means.
The Ending: You saw this coming, but Hereditary’s ending wasn’t the one I had in mind from the trailers. A surprise can be good, but to quote my friends, the ending had completely leaped over the gap to another movie altogether that didn’t quite fit all the way with the direction the first act did. It was almost like two screenwriters wrote the two halves, came together and tried to paste them together (even though there was supposedly only one writer). While the broad transitions will grip more people in, the movie’s grand finale wasn’t my cup of tea, though it may explain the disturbing steps this writer planned. And some of the end game decisions, rushed, pointless, and really not pleasant to look at (fans who see the movie will know what I’m talking about).
The other reviews are right, this movie keeps you guessing, has a number of twists, is creepy and hard to stomach, and not afraid to go down the dark abyss to bring you shock. So, bravo in thinking outside the box and crafting a rather original tale with a dynamic component to it. Yet, this movie’s tinkering with the plot was unnecessarily complex, with a few gimmicks/deliveries not really keeping in tone with the genre and the ends not justifying the lengthy journey I took to get there. If you like the Lords of Salem, you are going to enjoy the approach this movie takes, as it feels very similar in a lot of components. Yet, if you want a more linear, straightforward movie, hold your horses for later this year when other films are supposed to grace the silver screen.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 7.0