Hereditary (Ari Aster, 2018)

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Big Ben
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Re: Hereditary (Ari Aster, 2018)

#26 Post by Big Ben » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:20 pm

Aster pretty much confirmed:
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That there really is a demon. Paimon is very much a force in the film.

Speaking for myself I think it's also possible that Paimon's presence has not been helping these individuals with said illnesses. I base this off of the fact that two of her family members suffered grisly deaths as well (Her father and brother.) I speak only for myself when saying this but I feel that Annie was very much aware something was not right but chose to bury not just her own feelings but the possibility that her Mother was far more nefarious than she appeared. I'm not implying that she knew everything of course but that the possibility was there and she refused to acknowledge it. There's a lot of violence in Hereditary but it's very much the venomous emotional kind.

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Finch
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Re: Hereditary (Ari Aster, 2018)

#27 Post by Finch » Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:38 pm

Thought it was solid, with Collette and the score being exceptional. The accident scene and the first seance scene unnerved me the most. I'd say though that the script needed to make father and son more into characters of their own, Byrne in particular feels wasted. Could have done without the voiceover at film's end as it was clear to me what was happening. The clues were very there right from the beginning, verbal and visual, so I felt this didn't need spelling out. Would be interested in seeing the three hour cut if Aster ever wants to release it, if only to hopefully get more character-building scenes for Leigh snr and jnr.

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Re: Hereditary (Ari Aster, 2018)

#28 Post by pandroid7 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:44 am

nitin wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:25 am
I will go against the grain and say that I thought the script was terrible and there was hardly any worthwhile characterisation beyond what was required for plot mechanics. There is more to being an effective horror film than just being a slow burn mood piece. Between this and A Quiet Place, I am clearly out of touch with what passes for an effective horror film in 2018.
Same. Both of these films have fallen short for me, sadly. I enjoyed aspects of both, but neither left me affected in the way I was hoping. As for Hereditary, I enjoyed Colin Stetson's score (although that's no surprise as he's always excellent, and his particular talents are a good fit for horror), and I dug the incorporation of the dollhouse/miniatures as a device for playing with perspective and cinematography. I found it to be an interesting movie to look at in general; I wasn't ever visually bored. For a haunted house slow burn, you sure as shit better deliver on the exploration of space/location choice, and I thought it did well on that front too.

Collette was excellent. There were times when the hysteria line was straddled by other characters in a way that made me more inclined to laugh than be spooked, but when it came to her performance, that was never a factor. I found the two children to be sketched in a pretty two dimensional fashion. With Peter, we have these pretty pointless, brief moments where we're made aware of his crush on a female classmate who has maybe three lines in the whole movie, and...he smokes pot? That's about all I can really nail down about his personality. Since this film clocks in at over two hours, which is more than you usually get with mainstream horror, I feel like there was time to flesh out the children as people more than they did. The film instead elects to spend more time trying to bite off more than it can chew in terms of the themes of grief and mental illness and how they affect perception.

I have a friend who is touchy about mental illness portrayal in horror films, and I tend to disagree with her about it because with horror, we're operating past a sense of realism right out of the gate. And, generally, we're also dealing with a tone that isn't akin to a drama that's raising big questions that it attempts to answer. A big part of the reason this film didn't work for me is that it felt tonally confused.
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We have scenes like the incredibly intense one of Annie mourning the death of her child while Steve holds her so it feels like a film that wants to be taken seriously in this respect yet it doesn't really offer much in terms of saying anything about these themes beyond using them as a plot device.
Again, normally I wouldn't expect this out of this type of horror film, but I felt like I was being put in a different headspace the first hour or so than I was in the latter half so it left me a little bereft. Which brings me to Charlie. All of this combined made me uncomfortable with the usage of a character that seems to be loosely defined as being on the spectrum (I think? Because again, we’re not really given much to go on) as a poorly sketched person who is mostly a plot device. Some of the vagueness about Charlie is fine. As Zedz mentioned, the nature of the references to her odd relationship with her grandmother were more effective when left less detailed. But...to introduce this character just to kill her off and to use her verbal tics as jump scare fodder kind of left me cringing. If I get flamed for saying that, oh well. Again, normally this isn't even a hot button thing for me in horror, but I had a pretty automatic, visceral reaction to it here. So much so that I was kind of surprised to not have heard something similar from anyone I know yet (although to be fair, I enforce a really strong "DON'T EVEN TELL ME THE TINIEST THING" policy about film with friends because I like to go in to every film as blind as possible). I wasn't sure what the film was trying to tell about any of the more somber themes it incorporated other than using them as an unsettling backdrop. Which...fine. It doesn't have to do more, but the feeling that it wanted to made the whole experience a bit uneven for me.

So overall, it was underwhelming for me, but I'm always happy to see what worked for other people and why. The subjective nature of what works for who and why is always especially intriguing in horror. I enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts on here.

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swo17
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Re: Hereditary (Ari Aster, 2018)

#29 Post by swo17 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:15 am

I just learned that sets for this film were largely furnished with antiques from my father-in-law's store. My home is similarly furnished. Don't think I'll ever be able to watch this...

nitin
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Re: Hereditary (Ari Aster, 2018)

#30 Post by nitin » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:19 am

slow zoom into swo17’s face...

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Big Ben
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Re: Hereditary (Ari Aster, 2018)

#31 Post by Big Ben » Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:39 am

I feel the horror proper that is to say the ooga booga stuff is really secondary to the familial aspect of the film. The horror proper is a culprit here but the anger and repressed grief is really far more horrific in the long term in my opinion. Hereditary is about say, ghosts in the same way Moby Dick is about the whale. Yes the whale plays a major role in the story but I think most people would be remiss to say that the whale was the point of the book.

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Lost Highway
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Re: Hereditary (Ari Aster, 2018)

#32 Post by Lost Highway » Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:24 pm

I went for a rare outing to the cinema to see this because social media seems desperate to spoil this for me and the backlash which follows all “elevated horror” films is just round the corner.

I found most the film very unsettling and initially I felt slightly let down by how conventional denouement was. The end reminded me of
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Paranormal Activity 3,
a far less skillfully made film which I didn’t expect much from and therefore was less likely to disappoint (I think it’s rather good, certainly the best in the series). After a build up which feels so unconventional it comes as a surprise how thoroughly the film embraces genre conventions by the end. Much of the spooky climax worked though, especially when it slowly dawns on you that a barely perceptible character in the dark defies the laws of physics. Unlike It Comes at Night which was a different movie that its marketing promised, this delivers on its trailer and then some.

That said, I think Heredetary is a keeper and the end will play far better for me on a second viewing. The entire film is reverse engineered and there are so many almost imperceptible clues as to where it is heading. Not many modern horror films trust their audience to have the patience for a series to accumulating details to slowly come together like this. As a horror film it’s so well made. Everything looks mundane and yet slightly off, it has the sinister beauty of Gregory Crewdson’s photographs. This also has the best use of surround sound in a long time, one of Charlie’s tongue clicks which Peter hears late in the film, was right next to my head.

The only films which spooked me like this are first half of The Shining (before Nicholson turns it into a black comedy), the first half hour of Lost Highway (till it morphs into a gangster film) and Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Kairo/Pulse.

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Re: Hereditary (Ari Aster, 2018)

#33 Post by DarkImbecile » Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:53 pm

nitin wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:25 am
I will go against the grain and say that I thought the script was terrible and there was hardly any worthwhile characterisation beyond what was required for plot mechanics. There is more to being an effective horror film than just being a slow burn mood piece.
I saw this again the other night, and could not disagree more about the script, which is even more intricately constructed than I fully appreciated the first time, and provides more characterization for Collette in just the dream sequence than most protagonists get in non-genre films. The film manages to clearly establish and shade its two key characters in an intricate and densely plotted story with copious background detail, while incorporating multiple motifs and stylistic elements in rewarding fashion, and also being scary as all hell (subjectivity caveat, etc.).

While I’m disagreeing, I’d also take issue with AO Scott’s criticism that the conclusion of the film abandons Collette and renders “her entire internal drama a colossal red herring”; as I alluded to in the first post (and as the title of the film implies) the main corrosive element destroying this family isn’t grief (though obviously that’s a factor) but mental illness, and the generational impact it can have from grandparents to grandchildren and beyond. This perspective renders what Collette’s character goes through as anything but a red herring like Janet Leigh’s character in Psycho, and the script and her performance do more than enough to ensure that we grasp the weight of that internal drama Scott describes.

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Re: Hereditary (Ari Aster, 2018)

#34 Post by DarkImbecile » Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:06 pm

zedz wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:06 pm
- Too many arbitrary shock effects. I found It Follows well over-rated, and its horror premise too silly to bear much thought, but it had a clarity and consistency that helped it maintain a mood of dread. The everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach of the last half-hour or so left me less and less invested in the narrative.
Can you explain what you mean by "arbitrary" here? There aren't any cats jumping out of cabinets or anything, and I'm having a hard time of thinking of "shocks" that don't advance the narrative or deepen our understanding of what's happening except maybe the
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moment with Collette smashing her had into the attic hideaway door, which worked for me because it's preceded by only the sound with no explanation for a good thirty seconds, and then the reveal serves to heighten the wrongness of what's happening to her (as does the absolutely terrifying expression and side-glare she gives while sawing away with the piano wire later.
zedz wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:06 pm
- Dumb horror-movie behaviour a-go-go. You get up in a dark house in the middle of the night, hearing scary sounds, seeing horrible things, but you don't bother turning on a light?
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You come across a carefully composed black magic tableaux in your attic, complete with defaced photo of your beloved son, but you don't try and disrupt whatever terrible thing it's doing by messing it up? More bluntly: you don't get the fuck out of that house and warn your family?
It's not chronic, like the majority of horror movies, but it's still lazy.
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Collette didn't find that tableaux you describe, Alex Wolff's character does when he finally makes it into the attic; she may well have been the one who set it up while he was unconscious. Also, as I said in the post above, she's exhibiting a multitude of signs of mental illness - just think of that scene in which she's trying to convince Byrne to throw the book in the fire - and is not exactly capable of rational thought.
zedz wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:06 pm
Speaking of lazy, the shot of text explaining the film's plot is not only ridiculously clunky, it also comes early enough to destroy most of the remaining mystery about the film ("Oh, so that's what's going on").
Sure, in the most literal of senses it explains the broad strokes of what is happening, but don't tell me you read those two sentences and predicted exactly how the next 25 minutes play out. Why it's happening is not a fraction as interesting as how, as in most good films.

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Re: Hereditary (Ari Aster, 2018)

#35 Post by MongooseCmr » Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:29 pm

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I was really stunned by Charlie’s death so early on. Never in a million years would I have guessed that could happen, least of all to the most heavily marketed aspect of the film. It completely throws off the fact that the film literally spells out its twist in the first five minutes to anyone with any concept of horror. That said I felt like her death left a real void that the movie struggles to fill with increasingly elaborate plot. Corpse stealing, bad family history, seances, cursed books, immolation, wall crawling, naked cultists. Last years multiplex art-horror film It Comes at Night failed because it had nothing going on, and this almost fails for having too much. In the span of 20 minutes you forget how much of the film was about a mother grieving her dead child and struggling to keep not grieving her mother.

But by the time the boy is possessed I was able to embrace it as fun trash. Once it start’s explaining the demons name you just have to laugh and roll with it. I really expected his response to “heed his word and serve him” to be a tongue click, which would have completely saved the film.

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Re: Hereditary (Ari Aster, 2018)

#36 Post by Lost Highway » Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:35 pm

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The did a good job of misdirection with the publicity and the trailer. For once the movie isn't spoiled by a trailer. It sets the audience up to expect an evil/possessed-kid horror movie, which takes the Janet Leigh route half an hour in.

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Re: Hereditary (Ari Aster, 2018)

#37 Post by headacheboy » Tue Jun 19, 2018 4:55 pm

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I'm with MongooseCmr, I was absolutely thrown for a loop by Charlie's death. Most trailers seem to give away every plot point and ending, but this didn't. When I saw the trailer I knew I'd never go to see it because I didn't want to attend another possessed kid horror film. But this discussion and other buzz (whoever posted the short films, thank you)drew me into the theatre (and I wanted to go before it was spoiled by some website). When the car accident happened I kept thinking she has to be dead, she could not have survived the trauma. What the heck will they do with her now? Is she coming back from the dead? I couldn't let go of the notion she has to be alive because the trailer shows her all through the trailer! While I didn't necessarily dig that ending, it was still so far off the mark of what I expected from the trailer that I was reasonably satisfied that it defied my expectations.
edited twice for spelling errors

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zedz
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Re: Hereditary (Ari Aster, 2018)

#38 Post by zedz » Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:24 pm

DarkImbecile wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:06 pm
zedz wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:06 pm
- Too many arbitrary shock effects. I found It Follows well over-rated, and its horror premise too silly to bear much thought, but it had a clarity and consistency that helped it maintain a mood of dread. The everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach of the last half-hour or so left me less and less invested in the narrative.
Can you explain what you mean by "arbitrary" here? There aren't any cats jumping out of cabinets or anything, and I'm having a hard time of thinking of "shocks" that don't advance the narrative or deepen our understanding of what's happening except maybe the
SpoilerShow
moment with Collette smashing her had into the attic hideaway door, which worked for me because it's preceded by only the sound with no explanation for a good thirty seconds, and then the reveal serves to heighten the wrongness of what's happening to her (as does the absolutely terrifying expression and side-glare she gives while sawing away with the piano wire later.
There's that, but there are also a bunch of startling images in the final section that are there to be startling horror movie images to liven up a trailer and don't really follow on from the quiet slow-burn mood of the rest of the film, like
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Byrne bursting into flame, Collette hanging from the rafters and sawing off her own head with cheese wire, multiple rotting ghouls appearing from the shadows rather than the two we already know about.
The day-to-night lightswitch effect is a shock effect too, it's just a banal and dumb one. They cram so many different, unprecedented (in the film, but very familiar from the genre) horror visuals into that last stretch that the mood they've established dissipates and you're waiting for the projectile vomit, chanting hooded acolytes or dragons to arrive.
zedz wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:06 pm
Speaking of lazy, the shot of text explaining the film's plot is not only ridiculously clunky, it also comes early enough to destroy most of the remaining mystery about the film ("Oh, so that's what's going on").
Sure, in the most literal of senses it explains the broad strokes of what is happening, but don't tell me you read those two sentences and predicted exactly how the next 25 minutes play out. Why it's happening is not a fraction as interesting as how, as in most good films.
I agree, but - as per above - if the how is ham-handed and much less interesting than the rest of the film, then without the mystery of the what and why, we're left with a whole lot of nicely shot empty calories.

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