Hereditary is an unsettling movie with a conclusion that only some may understand. It consists of horror, psychological, and supernatural elements surrounding a domestic drama that is already unsettling. It is well crafted and very effective. When it begins, the mood is already set. An elderly woman has passed away. We are introduced to the daughter Annie (Toni Collette) who has a husband and two children. As Annie deals with the death of her mother, little bits of information about her family are unveiled. Although their habits seem normal at first, one of them becomes mysterious. And like a ripple effect, the behavior begins to affect another family member as decisions are made that lead to catastrophe.
The film delivers a lot of apprehension. The camera navigates slowly and objectively, keeping us inquisitive while following characters into rooms. What is he or she going to see? What is happening in that treehouse? The father seems well and balanced showing a deep empathy for those grieving or troubled at home. He knows when to give space and allow them to just be. Then again, maybe he doesn’t know how to handle the situation. The film is a memorable debut for director Ali Aster. He gets to work with two veteran actors, Gabriel Byrne and Toni Collette playing the husband and wife. Alex Wolff and Milly Shapiro are also good as the children Peter and Charlie; Their roles mainly require them to have blank stares or look distressed. Collette seems to have a natural aptitude for looking terrified. In one scene at a dinner table, she gives an example of why acting is a profession. This is an impressively crafted movie although not an easy one to watch.