Already branded as the “most insane horror movie in years,” upcoming horror flick Hereditary didn’t just play early audiences like a fiddle when it premiered at Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. It slammed their insides like a grand piano.
No doubt about to join the legions of clever horror helmed by the likes of The Babadook, It Follows, Get Out and, most recently, John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place, Ari Aster’s blood-curdling debut has been praised for its raw “emotional terrorism” which couples impeccable haunted-house genre thrills with deeper anxieties that niggle long after the film’s final moments. Hereditary is set to anchor its terrors to unbearable emotion and the warped genius of using these raw feelings to enhance to potency of its scares and set pieces.
Not much is known about the film’s plotline, apart from its sinister synopsis which involves a family caught in an inwardly collapsing spiral of grief. Toni Collette has been heralded for her performance as Annie Graham, a diorama artist who creates small models of her spaces, both emotional and physical, whose unloving mother has just passed away. The loss has created something of a storm cloud over the family’s home, straining Annie’s relationship with her family, leaving them under threat by a strange supernatural force.
The latest trailer focuses on Charlie (Broadway’s Mily Shapiro), Annie’s disturbed young daughter. Some of the best horrors feature creepy, evil-esque children, but Hereditary might be the next great horror child to rival The Exorcist’s Regan, Orphan’s Esther and The Ring’s Aidan Keller. The trailer shows Charlie entranced by a stack of tree branches and sticks piled on her desk, cutting off the head of a dead bird with a pair of classroom scissors, and just generally be sort of, well, out of it.
Currently sitting at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, what is perhaps most exciting about the film is its meditation on all too real issues. “I wanted to make a film that worked as a family drama first before even attending to the horror elements,” Aster noted. “The film is a family tragedy that curdles into a horror film.” Perhaps plenty of viewers may have trouble handling the mix of bleak family drama with impeccably staged, nightmarish horror. But I’m equally sure it’s a challenge plenty of horror fans will gladly accept. They’ll get their chance soon too, with its release coming in June. Just don’t say you weren’t warned.
Hereditary (2018), directed by Ari Aster, will be released in the UK on June 15th 2018, certificate 15.