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Hereditary: Applause for Toni Colette

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Hereditary: Applause for Toni Colette

It’s such a shame when a film has a major star, but both the film and the star are not good. It’s even more of a shame when an actress is exquisite in a film that is very far from that.

Hereditary follows the shaken lives of the Graham family after losing their secretive grandmother. Dealing with the loss of her estranged mother, Annie (Toni Collette) attempts to protect her family as she uncovers family secrets, demonic lineage, and more.

The plot’s premise revolves around an inherited curse of sorts. However, the film stumbles with execution, whether in its flow or in its pace. Hereditary is more than 120 minutes in length and, until the 60-minute-mark, the audience has no clue what in the world is happening. Not in a good oh-I’m-so-intrigued way, but rather in a how-long-until-this-weird-movie-ends kind of way. The flow between scenes did not make much sense most of the time, and the film’s pace went from a snail’s crawl in the first half to a speed racer in the second.

The major issue with this film is that it assumes that the audience knows as much as the filmmakers do, but that is farthest from the truth. In a horror film the audience is on edge waiting for the next scare, they expect things to move fast in order to be scared, and they are in no state, and have no time to investigate what the filmmakers meant to say. When a large number of a film’s audience have to google what the whole film is about after watching the actual film, then there is a major problem.

For the acting, Toni Collette did an extraordinary job starting from the tone of her voice to her wild expressions. Collette managed to get the audience to feel the pain of a grieving mother and a woman on the brink of insanity. Playing her husband, Gabriel Byrne gave a stale performance with the same weirded out expression throughout the entire two-hour film. Milly Shapiro’s portrayal of daughter Charlie was creepy, full of vacant stares, and was minimalistic yet brilliant. Alex Wolff, playing the brother, also does very well at keeping the facial expression from being over the top, and also hitting the mark when needed.  

It’s sad when the acting is on the money and you can feel the effort of a group getting ruined by almost every other aspect of the film. A few scary moments and the remainder being a boring film, can’t really think of a situation where you would want to see this unless you are a film reviewer and this is your job.

Like This? Try

The Witch (2015), The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), The Conjuring (2013). 

360 Tip

The demon the film is revealed to be about, named Paimon, is a demon who was cast into hell along with Lucifer and other heretical angels. Paimon is considered to be one of Lucifer's most devote warriors.

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