As if the makers of Hereditary needed to any more reasons to prove their film is scary – just read the reviews – the studio behind it have now conducted their own research into the matter.
Perhaps the studio, A24, had been feeling the competition. After all, the horror movie genre is experiencing a boom at the moment thanks to the likes of Get Out, The Babadook and A Quiet Place.
For fans of the genre, going to see a horror movie is all about the fright-factor, so A24 wanted to prove to audiences that their film will provide them with the necessary amounts of terror.
Hereditary isn’t your straightforward horror flick. It’s a twisted, deeply emotional and disturbing tale of family, grief and loss.
Check out the trailer here:
The film focuses on the Graham family, following Annie – played by Toni Collette – as she grieves after losing her mother, Ellen.
As Annie and her family attempt to cope with their grief, they begin to unravel and soon descend into a kind of hell as they try to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited.
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.
It seems the studio wanted their audience to go to dark places too, by carrying out their own experiment with some willing participants.
A24 decided to kit out 20 random viewers with Apple Watches while they watched the film. As the plot unfolded, the watches tracked their heart rates in order to gauge how scared each viewer was.
They then put the varying heart rates in a graph which, as a healthy resting heartbeat is between 60 and 80bpm, makes the recorded 164bpm a tad worrying.
Check it out:
Trying to put a positive spin on it, however, the studio captioned the graph with ‘Watching Hereditary is equivalent to 2 hours of exercise. Science doesn’t lie.’
Hereditary or two hours of exercise? Both sound pretty terrifying to me.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.