The new evolution of horror is so good that it’s hard to put some aspects into words. It makes you feel things like Lovecraft describes cosmic horror. It’s just hard to describe with the words we have around today. Hereditary really nails the “what’s this feeling?” bingo. It’s familiar, unfamiliar, resentful, and stunning. It’s everything a horror movie should be and more. It’s almost as if the essence of horror had been distilled into an elixir and drunk deeply by Ari Aster.

I think on a technical level, this movie excels in every area without any drawbacks. The writing is phenomenal, the acting is compelling, the sound design is frightening, and the visual design is beautiful. Altogether, this movie nails the aesthetic I believe it’s going for: Dysfunction and resentment.

The common trope of death as a catalyst is present here, and serves to kickstart the story. We’re immediately introduced into a grieving family, many of whom don’t know how to display their emotions regarding the event. This sets the family on a slow-burn path of destruction that will ultimately seal their fates. The family is rather like a boat circling a whirlpool – destruction is imminent, but you can’t tell exactly when the tipping point will occur to capsize them.

Thematically, I believe Hereditary explores resentment very well. Every event in the movie is driven by resentment from one character to another. The grandmother is resented by the mother for her troubled childhood. The mother is resented by the father for her increasingly erratic behavior. The son is resented by the mother for being born, and for a tragic event that unfolds during the film.

It’s hard to express how this makes me feel as I watch. It’s uncomfortable surely, but it’s also more than that. It’s familiar, the toxic environment of a family being torn slowly at the seams, and the desire for it to simply end. It’s a haunting feeling, and it really resonates in my frequency.

It’s very shocking in several segments, and also the twists and turns that it takes gripped me deeply. The story is laid out and explained so much earlier than you’d imagine, and I still missed it until the big reveal on my first watch. On subsequent re-watches, I’ve only solidified my opinion of this films masterful storytelling and aesthetic presentation.

Ultimately I think Ari Aster’s interpretation of horror is one that’s born for the new age. It’s polished, refined, terrifying, and great. It’s a must-see movie for anyone, and it felt like it changed how I expect horror to unfold moving forward. I would consider this movie solidly in my top 5 horror films of all time next to the likes of The Exorcist and The Thing.

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