We were, once again, without a second feature to see in Koreatown, so we trundled over to the Fairfax district and had our first experience in The Grove, a ridiculous, opulent mall opened up about 15 years ago where evening tickets for adults go for a whopping $16.75!
MoviePass may have made some serious miscalculations when putting together their business model.
Hereditary is a moody, morbid tale that is reminiscent of last year’s The Witch, in the sense that it largely eschews jump scares and builds to increasingly freaky situations. It is seriously morbid, though, and not in a summer-horror way, which explains its 89/59 RT split. They should be happy with their $43M box office, though, all things considered.
I mean, it’s Toni Colette, and she’s doing what Toni Colette does best: Depress you, or at least excite your sympathy.
In this tale, she’s Annie, an artist who makes miniatures, models of things, e.g. like the family house, down to tiny details. She has recently buried her mother, with whom she had shall-we-call-it-complex? relationship with her mother.
Annie is not a great mother, being very neurotic and especially self-involved, and this shows in the strain between her and her son Peter (Alex Wolff of “The Naked Brothers Band”), and in the fact she’s always pushing her weirdo daughter Charlie (the adorable Milly Shapiro, who does “dead eyes” almost as good as The Barbarienne) on her son. Gabriel Byrne rounds out the dysfunctional family as Steve, a dull-witted quasi-involved father and husband.
While Annie tries to cope with her grief by sorta going to a support group and meeting the creepily sympathetic Joan, and by losing herself in her art project, she demands Peter take Charlie to his teen “study group”, because apparently she has no knowledge or memory of what teens mean when they say “study group”.
To say that “things go badly” is to underplay what is one of the most shocking scenes I’ve seen in a recent horror movie. It’s not shown. Instead, we see a character’s reaction to it, or rather said character’s complete inability to confront what has happened for hours and hours.
It was startlingly realistic besides being horrific. (I did mention this movie isn’t for everyone, right?)
Let’s just say there’s a lot more grief for Annie to handle, and one that pushes her into the arms of the Joan, and our first real supernatural moment.
I mean, we’re halfway into the movie at this point, and this will either work for you or not. Sometimes a sudden introduction of (essentially) magic will be very “impactful” (to use a word that pisses people off) or it will break your suspension of disbelief.
Assuming the latter, and you stick it out, things escalate pretty quickly from there and go into a fairly elaborate occult plot, with a few more shocking moments.
The Boy and I liked it, of course, because we tend to like things that are different. But I would definitely say this is more “creepy and shocking” than “scary”. It’s got a nice, weird (in the traditional sense of that word) ending, reminiscent of The Witch, in that it doesn’t try to hedge its bets.
If you’re not hooked on the jump scares, and like the weird, this could work for you.