4K | Blu-ray | DVD
Written & Directed by Ari Aster
Starring Toni Collette, Milly Shapiro, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff
Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Release Date: September 4, 2018
Hereditary is written and directed by first-time feature-length filmmaker Ari Aster and is currently ranked as my second best film of 2018 and far and away my favorite horror film of the year, and maybe of the past decade. Since seeing it on opening night back in June, I’ve been haunted by it, waking up in the middle of the night and checking the corners of my ceiling. The movie was critically lauded, currently sitting at 89% on Rotten Tomatoes, but has divided film audiences. Produced by indie darlings, A24, the same company that gave us The Witch, It Comes At Night, and The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Hereditary is a complex horror film that deserves full attention and the utmost respect. One of the most talked about and debated films of 2018 is available in stores now as special Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital combo pack.
Ari Aster takes his time to introduce his characters and this world to us. After the death of her mother, Annie (Toni Collette) is grieving, while trying to handle her two children Peter (Alex Wolff) and odd Charlie (Milly Shapiro) and meet the deadline for a new art gallery opening with her miniature collection. Dad Steve (Gabriel Byrne) is the calming second, but there is an unsettling and menacing presence surrounding the family and their home. Without spoiling too much, they are beset by more tragedy and soon there are realizations that things were never what they seemed. It climaxes in one of the great endings in modern horror, in a final 20 minutes that have terrified me for months on end.
The Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack comes with a really interesting documentary, “Cursed: The True Nature of Hereditary.” This near 30-minute featurette about the making of the film contains interviews with writer/director Ari Aster and almost all the cast and crew. Aster said two of his biggest film inspirations were Brian De Palma’s Carrie and Peter Greenaway’s The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover. He discusses how important it was for this to be a family drama first and a horror film second so audiences invest in his characters and then go down the dark path with them. Personally I think audiences that went expecting 2+ hours of wall to wall horror were disappointed, while those with patience for slow-burn story-driven horror got the most out of it.
Highlights of this include a hilarious take from star Toni Collette where she told her agent that wanted a break from “intense and heavy roles” and wanted to take it easy and do comedies, and then she got this script… Milly Shapiro is adorable and it’s amazing the difference between this little girl have fun on set and her character who is SO intense and scary in her own way. We also find out the Alex Wolff is a deep method actor who Ari Aster called by his character name, Peter, the entire production. Any fan of the film will love this featurette. There are also a bevy of deleted scenes and an “Evil in Miniatures Photo Gallery,” a nice concise little gallery of the some of the amazing artistry put into the miniatures used throughout the film.
I love this film and as a horror movie geek, this is something I was waiting years for. This film treats its characters and the audience with respect, but it also asks you pay attention and be patient. After watching THAT ending, you’ll want to rewatch it again to see everything you missed the first time… only with the lights on.
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