After several of stagnation in the horror genre, films have seen a meteoric rise in terms of quality and content. From production houses falling into the trap of reproducing classic horror films, several artists have made the efforts to change the perception of the horror genre through thought-provoking ideas and some top class acting performance. In 2017, American comedian, actor and now filmmaker Jordan Peele came out with ‘Get Out’, a horror film discussing the themes of racism and subverting the white survivor trope. In similar fashion, American filmmaker Ari Aster’s came up with another terrifying horror film, ‘Hereditary’.
Produced by A24, the film follows the Graham family as they are haunted after the death of the family’ matriarch, the secretive Ellen. The film, released in June, has been hailed by many as being one of the best films of 2018. Hailed as the “scariest film” by Rolling Stone, ‘Hereditary’ is a blend of bone-chilling performances, astute direction, compact cinematography and music which aids the atmosphere with excellence.
Led by the talented Toni Collette as the emotionally desolate Annie Graham, the film lays the foundation on her seat clenching performance. With her expertise, Annie’s character is fleshed out and is emotionally gratifying and terrifying as well. Complementing her are the performances of Gabriel Byrne as Steve Graham, who brings a balanced performance as the level-headed husband, Alex Wolff as Peter Graham, who manages to steer forth a challenging character as the 16-year-old son struck with guilt and of course, Milly Shapiro as Charlie Graham, who roots her performance in the depths of horror and fear.
With the brilliant cinematography by Pawel Pogorzelski, who brings the gloomy and dark ambience visually and the chilling score by Colin Stetson, director Ari Aster truly captures the horror genre with shrewdness. The interweaving themes and complex ending of ‘Hereditary’ have brought the film under scrutiny, with multiple perceptions about the narrative giving birth. For this article, I have taken up the task of understanding the ending while also discussing several themes and characters. With a complex narrative form, ‘Hereditary’ has been quite the horror ride.