Deeply unsettling, loss and grief pervade the atmosphere of Hereditary, the thrilling feature film debut from writer-director Ari Aster. Following the death of Annie’s (Toni Collette) oddly secretive mother, her family seems changed, and not just by grief. Strange symbols recur, sleeping patterns are disturbed, and her teenage children Peter (Alex Wolff) and Charlie (Milly Shapiro) retreat further into themselves and their idiosyncratic hobbies. Their cautious father (Gabriel Byrne) attempts to keep a watch over them while Annie throws herself into miniature sculptures that reflect their recent history in a frank and foreboding way. The suffocating eeriness switches sharply to wild ferocity when further tragedy strikes and Annie, desperate, turns to occult means to re-align their story. Taking some cues from Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, Hereditary is beautiful and terrifying. This is horror worth the hype.
★★★★ “A new horror landmark that puts a unique face on things that go bump in the night” — Rolling Stone