Directed by Ari Aster
A cursed family rots from within.
With his first feature film, director Ari Aster has created an Exorcist for our time, said Joshua Rothkopf in Time Out New York. A horror movie about an unraveling family, Hereditary “creeps forward with an inexorable sense of doom,” and when the worst happens, as you expected it would, “you feel like you’re watching the world crack open: Things fly out that you’ll want to unsee.” Toni Collette stars as Annie, an artist who creates dollhouse-like dioramas. Annie is also a mother whose own, difficult mother has just passed away, and in “scene after ruinous scene,” Collette infuses the character with “an incantatory energy pitched somewhere between confidence and psychotic breakdown.” Annie’s son (Alex Wolff) and disturbed daughter (Milly Shapiro) can’t seem to escape grandma’s spirit, and thus tap into the film’s true terror, said Alissa Wilkinson in Vox.com. “Hereditary is obsessed with how our parentage, our DNA, the things we can’t change about ourselves shape our future”—how we are pawns in a larger game we don’t fully comprehend. “This isn’t a scary movie; it’s pure emotional terrorism,” said A.A. Dowd in AVClub.com. “It’s hard to imagine a more frightening movie this year,” yet “even the jump scares feel psychologically loaded.” ■