Friday, June 29, 2018

Hereditary is the greatest movie of all time

Hereditary. Man, this sure goes to some unexpected places. This is a new movie and there will be massive spoilers so don't fucking give me any shit if you read on. It rarely happens but still. So, anyway, yeah, weird. Was one of four people in the theater. The other three, a little family consisting of middle-aged couple and a high school (ish) daughter, were like, "uh, well, what did you think of that? Really something, huh?" Yeah, that sentiment, I'd say that pretty much summed it up.  I can totally see why critics love it and audiences hate it. So if you liked that movie The Witch that came out a couple of years ago and that everyone is comparing this to, you'll probably like this in that it was a lot of "what the hell is happening" followed by an "oh my god it's over." Yeah, they are both very much those critics A-, audience D movies, if you know what I mean. An extremely disturbing ending will do that for you. So, if you liked that other movie or movies that have endings that are super fucked, then I've got something for you over here... Hereditary is the greatest movie of all time.

Rotten Tomato Consensus: Hereditary uses its classic setup as the framework for a harrowing, uncommonly unsettling horror film whose cold touch lingers long beyond the closing credits.

Pros: Ending is super out there. Toni Collette is a hell of an actress. Does a pretty good job of insane. A lot of detail to make the reveal believable (much like Get Out). A slow burn that builds to insanity.

Cons: Not all of it holds up under any sort of scrutiny. Little too over-the-top.

Here we go. Movie opens with the death of grandma Ellen. Her daughter, Annie played by Toni Collette, and the grieving family begin having strange occurrences having to do with their shared ancestry that becomes increasingly horrible as per use in the horror genre. Early on we lose one of the two children when son Peter, played by Alex Wolff from Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, gets baked at a party and his little sister Charlie, played by Milly Shapiro, eats a piece of nut cake despite her nut allergy and the brother decapitates her in a freak accident while driving her to the hospital (I'll get into this later). From there we get seances and possession and hauntings and crazy people and all that fun stuff. It is a pretty standard horror movie you've seen 100 times for the first three-fourths of the movie. Then shit gets cray. This is a motherfucker of a beast of a domestic breakdown flick. It is writer/director Ari Aster's first feature film. It also stars Gabriel Byrne as the dad and Ann Dowd as the creepy-ass "friend" Joanie.

While Hereditary is most compared to The Witch, I thought it more in tune with the mumblegore film (movies with naturalistic acting and often improvised dialogue, low-budget film production, and a focus on the personal relationships)--which, to be clear, this film is not--is House of the Devil. That film, set in the '80s during the "satanic panic", was directed by one Ti West who is a genius, and deals with a broke college girl that babysits for a strange couple in an old house. When she gets there, the home owner informs her that it is not their child that she will be watching but his ailing mom. As the story goes on, she starts uncovering weirder and weirder happenings revolving around a cult bent on ushering in the antichrist. Like that film, this is a slow burn that gets more fucked as shit goes down, ultimately building into one hell of a crazy ass conclusion.

Joanie. Huge bitch
The breakout star of this flick is 100% Toni Collette who is just incredible. She was totally unhinged and insane with grief. Two scenes that really did it for me were the one where Joanie is trying to tell her about how she conjured up the spirits of her dead son/grandson. There is this crazy desperation to the scene with Joanie pawing at her and her resisting the whole thing as nonsense. It is obviously too much for her and she doesn't know how to handle it. She then turns around and does this same shit to her family much to her husband and son's annoyances. The next scene that really shows off her chops comes at the end when she is just fucking devastated. She is completely leveled in a truly horrible way. It is uncomfortable as fuck to watch but is an undeniably great performance.

This is a flick that requires a lot of attention, likely a second viewing. So basically the whole movie revolves around this body snatching, demon worshiping cult that has maybe already put the demon's consciousness in the girl (it is somewhat unclear if the demon has fully manifested in the girl as it prefers male hosts). Everyone in this world seems to be in on it and everything that goes down was all according to plan (no matter how outlandish). Regardless of if Charlie was always possessed or not, the demon needs a male host. The grandmother tried this once before as Annie, the mom, explains her brother committed suicide because he believed that their mother was trying to put people inside of him. We see that she was basically always willing to sacrifice her family for this cause and even went so far as to Hand-that-Rocks-the-Cradling her granddaughter (i.e. breastfeeding her). With me so far? Probably not. I too was lost.

"It's alright, bra. She'll shake it off. She's a rock."
As this was not a super clean movie, there were so many things that confused me. So my questions are why did Gabriel Byrne catch fire instead of the mom? Who possessed the mom when she cut her own head off? Was this like an Oedipus type of fucked situation that caused instant insanity? Why did the demon baby need to be a boy exactly? Is the boy like in the sunken place forever? Or will splashing with water wake him up as it did when Annie was possessed. Also, why go about possessing the daughter in the first place? Why not perform the ritual on the boy when he is like a toddler or something. The movie definitely requires multiple viewings but I'll be damned if I ever watch that shit again.

I was able to answer one glaring plot hole through a bit of research which I guess makes it not a plot hole, technically. This was from the scene where the girl, who was maybe a demon already, ate a piece of cake with nuts in it and her brother takes her to the hospital but gets into an accident and decapitates her instead (he drives home and goes to bed in shock after this takes place by the way, leaving her head on the side of the road). The issue was if the cult was just like hoping the little girl would die or if they forced that to happen in some way.  Apparently when the decapitated head shot pans up, that one Paimon symbol that everyone wheres is on the pole. The shock of that scene was fucking terrible and insane. It sort of makes you sick to your stomach. Holy fuck, man. That is basically the holy movie. Great but not one to watch more than once.

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