Directed by Ari Aster. Staring Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Ann Dowd, and Gabriel Byrne.
With all the ranting and raving I’d heard about this movie from so many different directions, I figured this has got to be awesome. Super scary, people leaving their lights on, afraid to look in the shadows, the whole nine yards.
So, to celebrate my Hubby’s birthday, he wanted to go see this movie. Of course, it’s not playing anywhere near us anymore, so the next logical choice was to hop on the motorcycle and make a whole day of it by riding to a theater 115 mile away. We decided to catch the first available show at 11:15 so headed out at 7am to give us plenty of time to stop for breakfast and get to the theater before it got too ungodly hot outside.
Four hours later with snacks and cold drinks in hand, we settled into comfy chairs and were prepared to be scared.
Annie Graham’s estranged, secretive, and controlling mother, Ellen, has passed away and quite frankly, Annie seems less than upset about it. Very soon after, Annie starts seeing what she believes to be her mother’s ghost. Her son, Peter, 17 and daughter, Charlie, 13, are also acting strangely and seeing their grandmother’s spirit. The only one seemingly immune to all of this is their father, Steve. Peter becomes plagued with nightmares and hallucinations. Charlie decapitates a dead bird for one of her strange little dolls – a foreshadowing of things to come.
Forced to take his sister to a high school party, Peter must later try and rush her to a hospital when she eats some cake with peanuts in it and goes into anaphylactic shock. Charlie opens the car window in an attempt to get some air, sticks her head out and BAM! is decapitated by a telephone pole. That moment, and her mother’s utter agony over the death of her daughter, was the most shocking and gut-wrenching part of the film for me.
The real insanity of the family comes full on after that, as little by little Annie begins to unravel the true, non-material legacy her mother has left behind. It’s bizarre and twisted and gruesome to say the least.
But, was it scary? Would I be keeping an eye on the shadows for weeks to come? Would I insist on sleeping with a light on? Would every waking moment find me haunted by images and thoughts of this alleged “…uncommonly unsettling horror film whose cold touch lingers long beyond the closing credits.” Would this “scariest movie of 2018” hunt me down even in my sleep?
Um, no. Not so much. And to rank it up there with The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby goes beyond the absurd.
I’m a big fan of weird stuff. I’ve dabbled in the occult since the day my grandmother decided I needed a Ouija board for my 13th birthday – yeah, you read that right. I’ve read hundreds of novels about vampires, witches, ghosts, demons, and all things that go bump in the night. I teethed on Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Outer Limits. I grew up watching Twilight Zone and Kolchak: The Night Stalker. I’ve read even more novels and non-fiction books about the subjects. I know what I find frightening and disturbing. Hereditary isn’t it.
It’s not even that I don’t ‘get’ what was going on in the third and final act. I get it. I know what old Gramma Ellen was all about. But, I was never scared. There wasn’t even a single jump scare. Actually, kids, I may have dozed off for a couple minutes at one point. Hubby wasn’t impressed either. He wondered if maybe it’s because neither of us are of the Christian persuasion. We both liked A Quiet Place better, even with its myriad of logic flaws. At least it had some real suspense and jump scares going on.
In fact, there were two far more frightening events that day than this movie. First, the very sudden, tire-squealing stop we had to make on the motorcycle and second the last half hour of the ride home through a cold and torrential thunder and lightning storm. Any idea how painful rain drops are on your bare arms and face at 50 mph?
2 out of 5 Ravens.
The Raven Scale:
1 Raven: Yuck! Don’t eat that.
2 Ravens: Bread crumbs, but it’ll keep us alive.
3 Ravens: Oh, hey! Peanuts, popcorn and cat kibble!
4 Ravens: Lunch time pizza place dumpster. Hell, yeah!
5 Ravens: Holy Shit, Fellas! Fresh Road Kill!