We have been going on an Australian acting odyssey these recent weeks with movie articles on Geoffrey Rush in Shine, Toni Collete in Muriel’s Wedding and Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine, the latter which I saw again for the umpteenth time 2 nights ago. For today’s featured film we embark into the Psychological-Horror realm with the wonderful Toni Collete in lead. Hereditary, alongside Mandy (reviewed here some time ago) were the two best Horror films to come out in the pre-pandemic 2018 film season.
When her mentally ill mother passes away, Annie (Toni Collette), her husband (Gabriel Byrne), son (Alex Wolff), and daughter (Milly Shapiro) all mourn her loss. The family turn to different means to handle their grief, including Annie and her daughter both flirting with the supernatural. They each begin to have disturbing, otherworldly experiences linked to the sinister secrets and emotional trauma that have been passed through the generations of their family.
I wouldn’t say the genre of supernatural horror is my cup of tea since it contains just so few well-made films, but Hereditary held me in its grip and I had to revisit it to inculcate its ending. This movie about a half-way through contains one of the most jaw-dropping horror scenes I have ever seen. Interestingly, it reflected a real-life incident from 2004 in Marietta, Georgia. Anyone who has seen the film will know the one I am referring to and essentially turns the movie on its head (pun intended). Toni is so good here as the mother of the family beset by supernatural forces.
The film received acclaim from critics, and it made over $80 million on a $10 million budget to become one of the highest-grossing film worldwide. This was writer-director – Ari Aster’s first directorial debut and he originally pitched the film as domestic drama than an outright horror film. He interpreted the film as two halves which are “completely inextricable from each other“. Toni Collete was originally reluctant to work on a horror film, but due to the script’s grounded approach she felt committed to do it. Toni Collette said that Ari Aster was the most prepared director she’s ever worked with.