Last night I watched Hereditary (alone). I’ve seen it on many lists as one of the scariest movies of all time, so as someone who enjoys scary movies, I was excited! My thoughts below, plus a BONUS MOVIE REVIEW of BARBARIAN, just for the Weens.
My NO-SPOILERS recommendation: If you like scary movies, I would say Hereditary is a must-watch. I can’t remember the last time a movie kept me up at night like this. I woke up at 5:00am this morning and had to turn on Seinfeld for an hour because I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
The acting is great, the intensity is turned up for the whole two hours, the story is compelling, and the scares are legit. The ending ~15 minutes is the scariest part of any movie I can recall rewatching, just relentless. Some supernatural scary movies are a bit gimmicky in their supernaturalness, but this gets it just right in my opinion.
Hereditary Recap / Rating
The movie is tense right off the bat, but fully comes into itself when Charlie gets decapitated in the car. I had zero sense that was coming. Peter lying awake with Annie screaming in the background was the first really unsettling / disturbing scene.
The way Annie, Peter, and Steve all deal with grief differently throughout the movie is really well done. Annie’s relationship to Peter and the guilt they both feel, with the dinner scene being the climax between them, was excellent.
As Annie slips further and further as the movie goes along, it’s hard to tell who’s ‘right’ and who’s wrong. You want to believe her side but Steve represents any normal person who would say ‘my wife has gone completely insane‘. And for the second half of the movie you’re not sure what’s actually happening and what’s imagined.
The last 15 minutes could be a post by itself. Seeing Annie in the corner of the ceiling (0:44) when Peter wakes up was fucking scary. The movie did this beautifully the whole time, where you think you’re seeing a hidden person. I could not take my eyes off the top left corner of the room when he woke up, and the airwalk out by her was bizarre but it scared me. That clip will not do it justice compared to watching it for the first time near two hours into a super tense story.
I don’t understand why Peter didn’t turn a light on when he was walking through the house. When he sees Steve’s body with Annie in the corner above him, I wanted to turn away. Finally the tension breaks when she starts chasing him with the attic scene being the coup de grâce of the whole movie. I didn’t realize it was a piano string that she was using to cut her own head off, but that makes it even worse (better?).
I said earlier that supernatural movies can be too over the top. Some of this was hard to follow, as to what exactly was happening and who Joan was. The cultists at the end ultimately make sense but felt out of nowhere watching it the first time (I didn’t notice them initially when it flipped from day to night, which was brilliant). But overall that aspect wasn’t too in your face. The finale of Peter being crowned king was fine, didn’t love it didn’t hate it, but everything leading up to that point was so well done.
The way it was shot from start to finish was unique and added to the uneasiness; so many face-on shots and slow turns. Great acting by all three family members, but especially Annie and Peter.
From what I’ve read online, a lot of people love this movie and some people think it’s horribly overrated. Obviously I fall into the former. I don’t see a scenario where I could watch that movie by myself and not be scared. And when I compare it to the movie below, it feels in a different class in terms of quality and scares.
BONUS MOVIE REVIEW: BARBARIAN
The first 45 minutes were, dare I say, very good. The story was convincing and you’re constantly wondering when Keith is going to turn on Tess. I was genuinely scared when Tess was walking farther and farther into the basement.
Flipping to the Justin Long storyline was an interesting way to do the movie. I didn’t hate it, there was just a little too much time between Keith’s death and him discovering Tess down there.
The biggest issue I had though was the ‘monster‘ didn’t quite land for me. She’s human but somehow super strong (I don’t think that’s how inbreeding works) and only comes out at night because she’s… scared of the sun? It hurts her? Her maternal instinct I guess makes her somewhat sympathetic which you feel in the ending when she’s killed.
They also didn’t do enough with the old man. He has all these VHS tapes of supposed murders but there’s barely any details about him. He felt like he was going to be pivotal but goes out with a whimper.
The cops ignoring Tess felt stupid. Justin Long going back and forth on if he’s a good person or bad person was entertaining and he shows his true colors at the end. The fall off the water tower made zero sense from a physics perspective.
It was an entertaining watch. It knows what it is. A different kind of scary movie from Hereditary. Would rewatch if it was randomly on.