Hereditary: Horror Film from Writer-Director Ari Aster in Impressive Debut

Making a striking feature debut in Hereditary, writer-director Ari expands the turf of the horror family film by adding some new thematic dimensions.

A tale of a three matriarchal-dominated generations, the movie might have been titled “The Enemy Within,” as the problems and troubles that the Graham clan go through are generated from within by a set of unexpected terrors.

The tale begins with the mysterious passing away of Ellen, the grandmother-matriarch of the Graham family.

Her daughter, Annie Graham (Toni Collette) tries to hold together her unit, teenage son and younger daughter against all kinds of threats and obstacles.

Gradually, all members begin to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited.  Have they been cursed? Is it fatally and fatefully genetic? the hand of fate? Can it be prevented from passing one from one generation to the next.

The family is no longer a safe fortress, and no one could be trusted.

Aster displays a nightmare vision of a domestic breakdown with precision and skillful control of the tale’s technical aspects.

By transforming the tragedy of this particular familial into something truly ominous and deeply disquieting, Aster pushes the horror movie into chilling new terrain with its shattering portrait of heritage gone to hell.

World premiering to great acclaim at the 2018 Sundance Film Fest, Hereditary was released in the summer (June 8) as counter-programming.

Among many merits, it offers a great role to Toni Collette, still a vastly underestimated actor.

MPAA Rating: R

Running time: 127 minutes