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‘Hereditary’ Review – Starts Strong & Steadily Disintegrates

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Is it ever too late to watch a movie and then review it? The 2018 horror film ‘Hereditary’ has been on my watch-list for a while. And since the Netflix algorithm, which has long since become familiar with my fondness for the macabre, kept ‘recommending’ it to me, I finally streamed the critically acclaimed production a few days ago.

Honestly, the film does start strong. Directed by Ari Aster, the plot revolves around the Graham family. It all begins with a funeral service. Annie Graham (Toni Collette) has lost her mother Ellen, whith whom she had quite a strained relationship. After that death, weird things start happening, almost as if Ellen is still around.

Annie is forced to experience one tragedy after another, with her own fragile mental health collapsing slowly. The viewer is made to believe that there is some sinister family secret that’s the root of all evil troubling them. The suspense, small jump scares and violent twists in the first half of the film is cleverly done and has you on the edge of your seat. But for me that’s where the problem lied – after a strong start, the plot gets harebrained in the second-half.

Annie & clan go through so much shit, that at one point you feel like – “c’mon, one family cannot be so terribly unfortunate!”. It feels a little too much and basically sets up a very high-expectation for the climax. As a viewer you feel like it has to be something explosive to explain all the calamities. But man, the ending just sucked! Like sucked. That’s the only way to put it.

Toni Collette really shines in her performance as a neurotic miniaturist, whose own kids don’t trust her. Gabriel Byrne who plays her husband Steve Graham manages to garner the viewer’s sympathy as a man whose marriage seems to have brought him nothing but anxiety and trouble. Millie Shapiro and Alex Wolff as the socially awkward Graham kids were also impressive in their parts. Wolff looke like a lamb brought to the slaughter in some scenes. The emotional trauma & psychological damage suffered by these characters is so devastating that the climax really does no justice to it. For me it was all a little too simple, even if bizarre – the great Graham secret to why they are doomed.

I really just want to give away the climax, to articulate why I felt the ending was a load of crap. But a good review must be spoiler-free, so no plot twists are going to be revealed here. You may or may not like the ending. For me, “Hereditary” was a disappointing mess by the time the credits rolled in. It’s a 5/10 from me.

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