HEREDITARY – Possibly the Most Terrifying Movie I Have Seen

I first saw the quote “This generation’s THE EXORCIST” on a poster or website somewhere in describing HEREDITARY. These things shit me, HEREDITARY isn’t a remake, it’s it’s own film in it’s own right and THE EXORCIST was a ground breaking film into evil that still haunts me. Well I had the soul destroying trip into a deeper realm of hell last night and can honestly say that HEREDITARY makes THE EXORCIST look like a romcom. It is incredible just how chilling this movie was. A horror masterpiece. It releases this Thursday 7th June from StudioCanal and this celluloid spawn of satan is rated MA15+. It runs for 127mins.


Hereditary The Graham Family Portrait
Hereditary The Graham Family Portrait: Milly Shapiro, Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff




Every family tree hides a secret. 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. 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.


Hereditary Milly Shapiro image
Milly Shapiro



I honestly was terrified to go home last night. It was one of those nights when I was on high alert. All the lights were turned on in the house until I was comfortable. Feature debut director Ari Aster creates the fourth A24 horror release to go mainstream following The Witch (2015), Free Fire (2016), and It Comes at Night (2017). I would categorise HEREDITARY into the same category as THE WITCH. A slow build mind and soul fucking slide into Date’s Inferno that wouldn’t be far from MOTHER‘s sequel. Nothing is what it seams and every scene is misdirect or direct into making you lose bowel control. Could HEREDITARY be too hellish and intelligent for mainstream audiences? It’s not a fluffy horror with hot teenagers, it’s an intelligent Oscar deserving study of fear.

It avoids cliched jump scares designed in the typical Hollywood fashion and instead just messes with your head on a whole new level. You will ask yourself if it is insanity, spiritualism, sleepwalking or psychopathic tendencies and you will try and deny the possible causes of the troubles eroding the Graham family.

Technically the movie is flawless, the cinematography is moody yet raw and beautifully graded, the CGI is wonderful and limited and the score deserves an Oscar utilising the deep bass and less than 20Hz frequency to put you on edge, regularly, maybe even constantly.


Hereditary Toni Collette image
Toni Collette



Can we just give Toni Collette all the Oscars, her performance in HEREDITARY is on another level. So many scenes just left my jaw on the floor and when she has her outburst at the dinner table that was the Oscar winner – her head nearly exploded. She really set the bar high in this and it was really hard for the rest of the cast to keep up.

I really liked Alex Wolff in this, poor kid is totally annihilated. He does have two scenes that just didn’t work, a sobbing scene post seance that was totally fake and needed to get another take and one other after his classroom explosion (it’s in the trailer no spoiler). The epitome of emotional breakdown just didn’t work that well for him but the rest of his performance and his physical health decline looked intense onscreen. He achieved more in scenes when he was paralysed with fear and his eyes did all the work.

Milly Shapiro as Charlie was bone chilling – I would have run from her as soon as I saw her haha. And all movies need more Ann Dowd – I love this woman, a presence that can fit into any emotion – nurturing and terrifying all in the same scene.

And lastly Gabriel Byrne, a gender reversed example of how to underutilise a support cast member. Like so many women before him, he merely played the partner to the lead character. The man has acting capabilities worthy of abundant screen-time but almost by design he was out of his league with his wife in this Toni Collette cinematic limousine.


Hereditary Movie image
Hereditary The Graham Family Portrait: Gabriel Byrne, Toni Collette, Alex Wolff



HEREDITARY gets a perfect five points for it’s terrifying ability to really shake me to the core. The last 30mins are as groundbreaking as THE EXORCIST was for its time. This was a movie that scared me so much I became mentally unbalanced and laughed at everything because confronting its true depravity was too much to handle. The question is: is HEREDITARY too evil and terrifying to give Toni Collette a well deserved Oscar?





 owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the  industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.


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