Usually, when people are decrying a new film as being the scariest ever, it’s people on social media who don’t actually like horror flicks.
They’ll swear blind that the latest Insidious is definitely the scariest film you’ll ever see, but we all know it actually isn’t.
But when film experts at Sundance film festival make the same statement about the film, it’s time to sit up and listen to them.
— A24 (@A24) January 19, 2018
And that’s what’s happened to brand new horror film Hereditary, which is being unanimously praised by critics as one of the best horrors since Rosemary’s Baby. Big praise indeed.
The film has been produced by film studio A24, pioneers of genre film and the lot behind The VVitch, Green Room and the newly Oscar-nominated Lady Bird.
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The film received its worldwide premier at Sundance couple of days ago, and the word-of-mouth hype is unbelievable, as reported by The Independent.
— Oscar! ⭐️ (@Oscar) January 22, 2018
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.
Sounds… pretty good? But that’s not what the reviews are saying, and some are claiming it’s the ‘most insane horror movie in years’.
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 pants-wetting unnerving. The more I think about it, the more questions I have, and it could be much tighter, but it's still a hell of a cardio workout. Also, Toni Collette is a cinematic champ. #Sundance
— Tasha Robinson (@TashaRobinson) 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.
Joshua Rothkopf tweeted:
Hereditary is so disquieting, you’ll be gasping for air in the theatre. Utterly believable supernatural horror. There will be no scarier movie this year. If there is, it means we’re in a new golden age.
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
Let’s hope he’s right and we are indeed in a new golden age of horror movies, we could certainly do with them.
There’s no current release date for the UK, so keep your eyes peeled for that one.