In the beginning I have to say the acting by Toni Collette as a grieving daughter was very well done. If you have a dysfunctional or complicated relationship with one or more of your parents, you will absolutely feel for her character, Annie, as she speaks at her mother’s funeral. After the funeral her family returns to whatever they had been before she had come to their house. No one is as sad, or at least not very sad, but part of that may be because the grandmother had been ill for a while.
After the son, Peter, goes to a party with his sister, Charlie, more tragedy interrupts the family, and the fractures really start to appear. Annie, who has a history in her family of mental illness, starts to show a disruption in her regular actions. She stops working on the miniatures for her upcoming art show, and she starts to obsess over her son and what has transpired between them in their lives.
The father, Steve, played by Gabriel Byrne, isn’t quite an absentee father, but he doesn’t seem to be fully aware, nor does he seem to want to care for his son, or maybe he doesn’t know how.
There are moments in this movie that are very creepy, and they are small moments. For example, one moment when Peter is just waking from a sleep, he hears a noise and thinks he sees someone in the corner, but it isn’t who he thinks. The setup to this scene was fabulous, and while it wasn’t frightening, it was creepy enough to garner attention, and to create suspense for the audience. The acting of Toni Collette was fabulous. There is one scene in particular, at a dinner the family tries to enjoy, where she lets everything loose, and the scene leads one to wonder at the title of the movie. Later there is another at the end, that not only seems impossible, but it is a good use of what horror is.
While this was well acted by Toni Collette, Byrne and the children seemed a little lax, although there are scenes when one hopes that Peter does get a break, in the end we get to see why everything happens the way it does.
This leads to comments about the ending of the movie, which is something that many seem to have an opinion about or argument for. I, after giving it a moment’s thought, found it horrifying and interesting. It brought the entire movie together, and it really relayed the title of the movie. Not only does Hereditary make one think of things that we inherit in our genes, but what we receive after someone dies, or what might possess us while we are alive. It’s a weird movie, and some might think it was written by someone far into an acid trip, but I thought it said a lot about itself, and people in general. And it made me wonder what, if anything, is in the world we can’t see, the world just behind the screen of out periphery vision.
So see it, don’t see it, but if you do, think about it for a moment before finalizing your thoughts about if it is or isn’t a good movie. You might surprise yourself if you give it a little bit of thought. Plus, I'd like to know what others think of it.