Wednesday, July 04, 2018


Hereditary – pahan perintö / Hereditary [Swedish title].
    US © 2018 Hereditary Film Productions, LLC. PC: PalmStar Media. With: Finch Entertainment / Windy Hill Pictures. P: Kevin Frakes, Lars Knudsen, Buddy Patrick. D: Ari Aster. SC: Ari Aster. CIN: Pawel Pogorzelski – camera: Arri Alexa Mini – master format: 2K – colour – 2.00:1 – release: DCP. PD: Grace Yun. AD: Richard T. Olson. Set dec: Brian Lives. Cost: Olga Mill. Makeup: Greg T. Moon. Hair: Megan Danner. VFX: Eran Dinur, Lucien Harriot, Ryan Sonderegger. M: Colin Stetson. S: Lewis Goldstein.  ED: Jennifer Lame, Lucian Johnston.
    C: Toni Collette (Annie Graham), Alex Wolff (Peter Graham), Milly Shapiro (Charlie Graham), Ann Dowd (Joan), Gabriel Byrne (Steve Graham).
    Loc: Utah.
    127 min
    US premiere 8 June 2018.
    Finnish premiere 20 June 2018, released by Nordisk Film Finland on DCP with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Jaana Wiik / Nina Ekholm.
    Viewed at Tennispalatsi, Helsinki, 4 July 2018.

Hereditary is a remarkable entry in the new wave of original horror films that started about five years ago. There is a strange feeling of majestic splendour in this study of loss, deprivation and madness.

Hereditary is an image-driven film. The director Ari Aster, his cinematographer Pawel Pogorzelski and his team create haunting visions out of ordinary elements. They discover original ways to explore the uncanny: how a little difference can change something familiar into something unfamiliar.

Hereditary is also a sound-driven film. The sound team with Lewis Goldstein as the supervising sound editor enhances and expands the chamberpiece with puzzling and dramatic aural dimensions.

But most of all Hereditary is a character-driven film. Toni Collette as Annie Graham, Alex Wolff as her son Peter, Milly Shapiro as her daughter Charlie, and Gabriel Byrne as the father Steven create memorable characters whose lives are horribly shattered. In a film worth revisiting some of the most ordinary situations are among the most effective such as Annie's funeral speech at her mother's grave. Annie's character is a great performance by Toni Collette.

The gorgeous visual approach to the depressive story lifts it towards the realm of the sublime. Ari Aster's touch in his extremely difficult subject is assured until before the finale.

The account of the hereditary family curse is compelling as long as it remains within plausible psychological dimensions.

The switch to Satanism in the finale is a letdown. Less would have been more. Otherwise Ari Aster had in his hands the makings of a masterpiece.

The digital quality of the movie is used as a means of expression. The digital unreality, the hypersharp lack of atmosphere is consistent with the introduction in which real houses and Annie's miniature houses are juxtaposed to create of a sense of a cosmic marionette theatre.


IMDb resume: After the family matriarch passes away, a grieving family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences, and begin to unravel dark secrets.


Annie Graham (Toni Collette), a miniaturist artist, lives with her husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne), their teenage son Peter (Alex Wolff), and their 13-year-old daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro). At the funeral of her mother, Ellen, Annie delivers a eulogy explaining her fraught relationship with her mother, who was extremely secretive. Shortly after, Steve is informed that the grave has been desecrated, while Annie thinks she sees Ellen in her workshop. At a support group for those who have lost loved ones, Annie reveals that, growing up, the rest of her family including Ellen suffered from a variety of mental illnesses that resulted in their deaths.

Later, Peter is invited to a party by a friend and lies to his mother about it being at a school event. Annie forces Peter to take Charlie with him to the party. While unsupervised, Charlie eats a piece of chocolate cake contaminated with nuts. She falls into anaphylactic shock, and Peter attempts to rush her to the hospital. On the way, Charlie opens and partially climbs out of the car window to get more air. When Peter swerves to avoid a dead animal in the road, she is decapitated when her head collides with telephone pole marked with a strange symbol. Peter, in shock, returns home without alerting anyone of the accident, leaving his mother to discover Charlie's headless body in the morning.

The family grieves following Charlie's funeral, heightening tensions between Annie and Peter. Peter starts hallucinating Charlie’s presence around the house. Annie attempts to return to the support group, where she is approached by a mysterious fellow member named Joan (Ann Dowd). When Annie visits Joan's apartment, she reveals that she used to sleepwalk and recounts an incident in which she woke up in Peter's bedroom to find herself, Peter, and Charlie covered in paint thinner with a lit match in her hand.

Some time after, Joan teaches Annie to perform a séance in order to communicate with Charlie. Following a nightmare in which Annie reveals to Peter that she purposely attempted to abort him when she was pregnant, Annie convinces her family to attempt the séance, where Annie is seemingly possessed by Charlie until Steve douses her with water to wake her up.

Annie suspects that Charlie’s spirit has become malevolent. She throws Charlie's sketchbook into the fireplace, only for her arm to also catch fire. She retrieves it and heads to Joan’s apartment for advice, but Joan is nowhere to be found. Annie goes through her mother’s things and finds a photo album linking Joan to Ellen, as well as a book in which Ellen had highlighted a section mentioning the demon Paimon, a "king of Hell" who wishes to inhabit the bodies of vulnerable males. Annie searches the attic and finds a decapitated body she believes to be Ellen with the same symbol that was on the telephone pole written in blood.

Meanwhile, Peter sees Joan chanting to him across the street during lunch. Peter breaks his nose following a paranormal incident in class and is returned home by Steve. Annie then shows Steve her mother's body and the sketchbook, insisting he burn it so she can sacrifice herself to stop the haunting. Steve refuses, believing Annie has lost her mind and moved Ellen’s corpse herself. Annie tosses the book into the fireplace herself, only for Steve to immediately catch fire and burn to death. Annie is then seemingly possessed by Paimon.

Peter awakens later that night, finds his father's dead body, and is chased by a possessed Annie into the attic. Discovering the attic now decorated with cult imagery and the symbol from before, Peter then sees Annie floating in the rafters beheading herself with piano wire. He then sees several naked cult members staring at him in the shadows. Peter jumps out of the window to escape and is knocked unconscious.

A pulsing light appears to enter Peter’s body while he is on the ground. He wakes up and follows Annie’s levitating corpse into the family tree house, where he discovers Charlie’s crowned, decapitated head resting atop a mannequin while Joan, other members of the coven, and the headless corpses of his mother and grandmother bow to him. Joan greets him as both Charlie and Paimon, stating that he has been liberated from his female host and is now free to rule over them.

No comments: