The director of the critically acclaimed new horror Hereditary has revealed the movie is inspired by real life experiences.
Hereditary explores the themes of loss, grief and trauma as a family copes with a recent loss to cancer.
Although the film never states it is ‘based on a true story’ like several others such as The Conjuring and The Amityville Horror, there is some truth to the tale.
You can watch the trailer for Hereditary here:
Speaking to UNILAD, director Ari Aster revealed the film is ‘inspired’ by his family’s own experiences with grief.
What’s nice about the horror genre is that it sort of functions as a filter through which you can push personal things and out comes something else right. So you aren’t putting it on a slab in the way that you would be if I was dramatising something explicitly.
If anything it is loosely inspired by experiences but ultimately that gave way to something which was entirely inventive.
The feelings in the movie are personal so the film is fuelled by this. Everything in the film sort of serves to follow in that direction.
Aster also admitted due to the film being inspired by experiences his own family went through, shooting at times was both tough and poignant.
There were more emotional scenes which struck a chord with me. I was seeing something play out which was close to me. Those affected me on set.
And I know the actors, especially Alex Wolff and Toni Collette, went to very dark places.
In fact Wolff recently opened up in an interview about how he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder following the completion of filming Hereditary.
Playing teenage rebel Peter, who harbours dark secrets of his own, Wolff spoke to Vice about how filming had a profound effect on him.
He claimed he has suffered from both memory loss and unpleasant flashbacks of scenes he was involved in.
It’s hard to describe eloquently, it’s just a feeling. I don’t think can you go through something this like and not have some sort of PTSD afterwards.
It stuck with me while we were filming, and it stuck with me well after. When I started talking about [the film], all these flashes with all this disturbing sh*t I went through sorta came back in a flood.
It kept me up at night to where I got into a habit of emotional masochism at that point of just trying to take in every negative feeling I could draw from.
I forced it upon myself rather than the opposite of what you’d usually do in life which is sit on the heater until it starts to burn and you jump up immediately. I had to do the exact opposite of that and absorb the pain and let it burn. It’s a reverse emotional thing.
With Hereditary being described as possibly the most horrifying film since 1973’s The Exorcist, it is no surprise to hear the actors had to deal with some ‘disturbing sh*t’ while filming.
Deliciously twisted, intensely emotional and chilling to the core, it’s horror at its very best.
Hereditary is currently out in cinemas now if you dare…
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.