Spoiled Cinema: ‘Hereditary’ (Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Gabriel Byrne)

Toni Collette in "Hereditary." Photo courtesy of A24. Photo by: Reid Chavis, courtesy of A24
I’m starting this new category called “Spoiled Cinema” which will feature Spoiler-filled discussions of various movies. I’ll do a lengthier “origin story” about Spoiled Cinema on a future post, but let’s get down to business with . . . Hereditary!!

I won’t be doing a plot synopsis or long form review of Hereditary, but here’s a spot on review from Cinema 35 editor Mark A. Silba and a grass-infused video review from Bruce Purkey (Bruce has a cool spoiler section in the Vid). Both Silba and Purkey are part of the CinemAddicts Facebook Group, and the films I’ll choose from this discussion section will often originate from the group.

So here are my thoughts and questions regarding Hereditary that hopefully will be addressed in the comments below:

Milly Shaprio in “Hereditary.” Photo by: Reid Chavis, courtesy of A24

Milly Shapiro Is The True Find Of “Hereditary” (Acting Wise)

Toni Collette will hopefully get some awards buzz as the sleep walking mom who loves crafting a miniature sized universe, but I thought Milly Shapiro stole the show as Annie’s (Collette) troubled daughter Charlie. I could watch an entire movie of Charlie eating chocolate sans notes while she creepily lurks her way through the day. But alas, her character was the next to go after grandma!

Toni Collette and Ann Dowd in “Hereditary” Photo by: Reid Chavis, courtesy of A24

Writer/Director Ari Aster Is Rightfully Praised, Oh But The Pacing

Comparisons to The Witch were inevitable due to the subject matter of possessions (witches and demons) and first time filmmakers doing good. Both Robert Eggers (The Witch) and Ari Aster (Hereditary) bring a methodical, craftsmanlike pacing to the proceedings and use subtle, bone chilling scores to full effect.

That being said, I wish Aster mixed things up just a bit with the pacing. The 127 minutes could have been cut by at least 10 minutes if people just walked f**cking faster! Seeing Alex Wolff skulk around for an interminable amount of time got a bit annoying. That’s just a small complaint on an otherwise first rate film (I’d give this one Four Stars).

Questions Answered . . . But Still Questions?

Unlike the similarly paced It Comes At Night, Hereditary answered most of the important questions. The demon from hell who was summoned Joan (Ann Dowd) is now living in Peter (Alex Wolff) and Annie  wasn’t able to save the day after finally coming to her sense. But here’s a few things I simply didn’t get . . . 

  1. Was Charlie already possessed by the demon when she cut off the pigeon’s head? 
  2. Was the grandmother the leader of the clan that wanted to resurrect the demon (didn’t a photo of grandma describe her as a “queen”) or was Joan the true head of the clan. Or maybe they were all just one community banding together to bring hell back on earth?
  3. What the f**k was Steve’s (Gabriel Byrne) day job? I probably missed that scene, but all I remember was his son appreciated his cooking and he did work on the computer from time to time. Absolutely thankless role for Byrne, but at least he had a fiery final act. 

    “Hereditary” – Toni Collette & Burning Man. Photo courtesy of A24
  4. I know this is a demon possession/resurrection flick, but I really wish there was a deeper payoff regarding Annie’s passion for making miniatures. That whole world had a huge set-up, only to end up being an incidental aspect of the bigger picture.
  5. I have no idea if Hereditary ends up being a total one-off, but I hope it goes the way of the Insidious or The Conjuring franchise. Though we know the big reveal, it will be interesting to see how this demon and his followers wreak havoc on Earth (maybe the sequel will deal with his journey to find a new host, and the Alex Wolff character, who is dying from a debilitating disease, must now track down the demon’s next target to stop s**t from really hitting the fan). That was my lame idea for a sequel pitch – but do you guys think Hereditary has enough space for a sequel or two??

    Milly Shapiro, Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, and Alex Wolff in “Hereditary.” James Minchin, courtesy of A24

*****If you’re a movie fan in search of a tight knit community to discuss movies, go to the CinemAddicts Facebook page and feel free to join our Group. Even if you “like” the page, you’ll be updated on our weekly giveaways (I usually give out Blu-rays but sometimes movie memorabilia as well).

***Lastly, feel free to post your respective review (if you have a link to your blog or video channel) if you want to promote your own content as well in the discussions below. My goal is to create value added, spoiler and insight based discussions of various films. If you have a comment or thoughts on Heredity, feel free to comment below!

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