Director: Ari Aster
Stars: Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Gabriel Byrne
Sometimes, to get a truly effective disruption going, you need to bring in an outlier. Alex Wolff told me recently that Hereditary director Ari Aster, here helming his directorial debut, said on the first day that he actually kind of hates horror movies and find them silly. Enter a film dripping in dread from frame one that gleefully tosses you some of the genre’s well-worn tropes just to subvert them so hard it feels like punishment for assuming you knew what was up. Think you have a general sketch of what Aster plans to do with Precocious Kid 101 Milly Shapiro? Aight, bet.
What’s dope is how Hereditary would be a fire indie flick about parental burdens and generational guilt even without seances, headless corpses, and possessed motherfuckers scurrying across ceilings. But unlike some indie horrors, which like to trade cerebral and emotional plot developments for jumps, Hereditary serves it to us both ways. By the balls-to-the-wall insane third act, we’re so invested in the Graham family drama that the twists—of both the narrative and neck-snapping varieties—hit that much harder. It’s Ordinary People meets The Exorcist. Even a horror purist would have to dap Ari Aster for pulling that off. —Frazier Tharpe