Some horror films are so scary that they instil a sense of fear into people about something which shouldn’t even be scary.
Think IT and clowns, or Jaws and sharks – okay I know Jaws isn’t a horror but watch that film and tell me you’re not scared to go in the water now.
Some things though, don’t really need a horror film to make them scary, they’re already pretty god damn creepy.
I’m talking, of course, about the weird little dolls that just seem to stare at you like they’re getting ready for nightfall to come and give you nightmares.
Man @A24 play too much ? After seeing the TERRIFYING @HereditaryMovie at a midnight screening last night (and checking every shadow of my room before going to bed), I woke up with THIS waiting outside my hotel room. Y’all play WAAAAAAY tew damn much ? pic.twitter.com/sKHQuuuIWa
— Barry Jenkins (@BarryJenkins) March 13, 2018
So when creepy little dolls started popping up randomly on people’s doorsteps at SXSW this weekend, people collectively freaked out.
In fact, the dolls are part of an incredible marketing campaign for new horror film Hereditary, which looks scary as all hell.
The trailer features a little girl cutting the head off a bird, a guy laying there as ants crawl all over him, and someone completely ablaze.
Reviews are incredible, and this guerrilla marketing campaign is making waves with audience members who’ve seen the film.
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There are 15 creepy figurines in total, and each is uniquely terrifying, like the twisted love children of Toy Story and something Guillermo Del Toro thinks of but decides it’s all a bit too weird.
Hereditary has been produced by film studio A24, pioneers of genre film and the people behind The VVitch, Green Room and the awards darling Lady Bird.
This is what the film’s about:
When Ellen, the matriach of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry.
The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited.
Making his feature debut, writer-director Ari Aster unleashes a nightmare vision of a domestic breakdown that exhibits the craft and precision of a nascent auteur, transforming a familial tragedy into something ominous and deeply disquieting, and pushing the horror movie into chilling new terrain with its shattering portrait of heritage gone to hell.
— Eric Vespe (@EricVespe) March 12, 2018
Thrillist’s review proclaimed that the ‘screams in the theatre were almost as frightening as what was on screen’.
— Matt Dentler (@MattDentler) January 22, 2018
AV Club even had this to say:
This isn’t a scary movie. It’s pure emotional terrorism, gripping you with real horror, the unspeakable kind, and then imbuing the supernatural stuff with those feelings.
It didn’t play me like a fiddle. It slammed on my insides like a grand piano…
The warped genius of the film’s tactic is how it steeps us in the pain of these characters, investing in the drama of their situation, and then uses the raw emotions—theirs and ours—to enhance the potency of its set pieces.
Which are masterful, by the way: Propelled by a dread-infused, disorienting score by avant-garde saxophonist Colin Stetson, the film does a number on the nerves, perfecting the James Wan approach of prolonged suggestion and peekaboo funhouse horror.
But even the jump scares feel psychologically loaded.
HEREDITARY is so disquieting, you’ll be gasping for air in the theater. Utterly believable supernatural horror. There will be no scarier movie this year. If there is, it means we’re in a new golden age. #Sundance
— Joshua Rothkopf (@joshrothkopf) January 23, 2018
Variety have called it potentially the most exciting movie from Sundance this year full stop, which is a massive statement in and of itself.
And if those dolls are anything to go by, then viewers won’t be sleeping for quite some time after seeing the film when it hits cinemas.