2018 is certainly shaping up to be a good year for horror. Steven Soderbergh’s first horror film Unsane will be on cinemas in March, alongside A Quiet Place, directed by John Krasinski and starring himself and his wife, Emily Blunt. But the biggest buzz of the year so far is around Ari Aster’s first feature film, Hereditary.
Earlier this year, Hereditary premiered at the Sundance Festival to outstanding reviews, and went as far as being called “the scariest film of the year” – high praise indeed.
The official synopsis gives us details that the trailer seems to withhold – “When Ellen, the matriarch 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.”
The trailer released last week opens with an eerie soundtrack and pans to a funeral scene, and through a series of voice-overs it paints a picture of a disturbed family that suffered by the hands of the matriarch and that, even after her death, still holds a strong grip on her family.
The film is painted to be overwhelming and unsettling, whilst still following true to A24’s now signature combination seen in its past genre films — combining the slowness and overall sense of dread of It Comes at Night, A Ghost Story, and The Witch, with the fast and intense shots of Green Room.
However, all the talk around the film could potentially hurt it, much like we saw with It Comes at Night. In the case of Trey Edward Shults’ film, the marketing created expectations that for some, were not fulfilled.
Similarly, the trailer and the teasers for It Comes At Night depicted a thrilling horror film, whereas the reality was a slower-paced piece filled with dread and pauses – still very good, but different than expected.
Another possible outcome for Hereditary is an IT-esque scenario, where the film was tagged with another “scariest film” tag, but in reality, despite smashing box-office records, was seem by some as being a little derivative, and a perhaps relying too much on jump-scares.
With Toni Colette in the leading role and with big names like Gabriel Byrne and Ann Dowd attached too, Hereditary already has an approval of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 16 reviews, summing up to an average of 8.8 out of 10.0, and on Metacritic it has 89 out of 100, indicating “universal acclaim”.
As I mentioned earlier, Aster’s film belongs to the A24 family, a company that is very quickly accumulating a roster of quite remarkable horror films. This gives us a hope that Hereditary will continue to follow suite, and hopefully set the bar even higher for many more films to come.
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