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Review Hereditary (2018): For the most part it has you hooked but then derails in such a way that it becomes disappointing!

genre: horror, mystery, drama







Finally I got the chance to watch Hereditary and it had me going until something happened that made me burst out in laughter. I was aware that the situation was grave, dire and awful but I couldn't help myself since the way the event was depicted was downright ridiculous. 

Granted it took a while to get there however up until the moment Hereditary was slowly but surely building up tension and dread. So effectively that I was very willing to disregard the obvious clues of what direction it was heading. I mean this film very heavily borrows from Rosemary's Baby and wants you to be aware of this fact. The film does throw some misdirections at you and it was on these I had put all my hope of this film being more than your typical horror flick. There are some psychological elements that made every event more compelling and interesting. Even terrifying since the depiction of madness or insanity was done so well. All of the actors did a good job especially Toni Collette. It had me invested into her and the other characters. The neat camera tricks also made it seem that we couldn't trust all of what was displayed. You could sense something ominous was looming. 

Then that ridiculous scene occurs and whatever hope I had was gone. It's here where the film decides to abandon the psychological elements and go full horror on you. Meaning it comes up with one cliché after another. Not that these weren't exciting or thrilling. But they completely trivialized everything substantial that was built up to, including the ever increasing dread. Then it also feels the need to explain as much as possible to the audience like they wouldn't get it. And yes unfortunately I did encounter some poor souls who felt like they had seen something profound and thought provoking because they were amazed and impressed. This only tells me that they obviously have not seen the films Hereditary borrows from. But even if that is the case there is nothing special to sink your teeth in. BTW these films are Rosemary's Baby, Cries and Whispers, Don't Look Now, Carrie, Ordinary People, and The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. And I think Red Letter Media also pointed out The Shining.Now I think about it. The film goes off the rails a little before the real ridiculous moment. However I accepted those scenes since they could be seen as signs of Annie (Toni Collette) completely losing it. Remember we can't always trust what we are shown.

It's a real shame that writer and director played it safe and familiar. There is nothing in the film that is truly original or creative. Can I really use this argument as criticism? In this case I can since for the most part the film is doing it's best to make you doubt and question what you see and experience. There are some scenes where suddenly a deep bass drops in that were a little disorientating. Probably to add to the tension. So it's not like this is a lazy production. On the contrary. This was a serious production with real good acting in it. However it ultimately fails to surprise and tell something new. I would not have mind ridiculous twists and turns if I hadn't seen it coming. Actually it's something I crave and applaud. I want to be impressed. 

Overall Hereditary is well worth your time. Apart from the way it ends. It's because of this that I have mixed feelings about it. How to judge a film that was going strong and then fails to commit to deliver what it was initially promising? Exactly!








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