Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Overlook Theatre Reviews: Hereditary

6 of 6 viewers "Liked" "Hereditary" (2018, USA)
Creature reviews have been minimally altered in an attempt to maintain their voice:

The Impostor - "Hereditary is one of my most anticipated films of the year and it's definitely a roller coaster. This film takes tragedy, grief, guilt and family troubles to the next level and holds nothing back. The acting is top notch, it felt realistic and made me feel their pain and emotions. I definitely gasped more than a few times during this film. I loved how it deals with an unthinkable tragedy, the aftermath and how it leads to the supernatural. I'm still soaking in what I just watched, similar to how I felt during last year's Mother!. A second viewing will definitely be necessary in the near future. Hereditary is by far one of my favorites this year. I can see this in my top 5 films of 2018 easily. I highly recommend it!" - 5 Stars

Huntress - "I’m almost immediately turned off when a director says they made a horror film because it was the easiest genre to finance but I just can’t hold that poor phrasing against Hereditary. The film was perfectly cast and infused with so much mixed chemistry that the family we spend over two hours living with is one that could potentially exist in reality, even being far from flawless. Toni Collette’s facial expressions were such an immense part of the authenticity of this film, and the same goes for Milly Shapiro's mannerisms, which appear so nervous and genuine it’s hard to believe she’s acting. In keeping with the A24 films that I loved most and think about regularly, Hereditary centered around a home that was both unique in structure and bold in iconography. It maintained an ominous use of color as well as a relentless sound design. The camera closed in and lingered on each person at the right time, and also showcased wide scenes of the isolating nature this house was surrounded by. And although I didn’t know how it would happen, the moments of terror this film surprised me with were intense! In the post screening Q&A, the director also mentioned there was a three hour cut of Hereditary - I would watch that today if I could." - 5 Stars

Wandering Panda - "Let me start off by saying that I love this film. The way it tackles tragic situations, mental illness, and family secrets with amazing sound design and visuals. Brilliantly directed by Ari Aster, Hereditary is the first film I've seen of his, so props. A seemingly normal family is the main focus of this film and thanks to the build-up, I really felt for these characters. I don't want to spoil anything, so please go out and watch this film. Go in blind and pay attention, even though that goes without saying. Hereditary will grab you and slowly suffocate you into submission, never letting go once. *Tongue Click*" - 5 Stars

Clark Little - "A “tweener” is a term that is used for a person that does not fall into a specific category and is labeled as an outlier between two groups. This term has a bit of a negative connotation, especially in the world of athletics. “That kid is too slow for the outfield, but isn’t tall enough for 1st base.” But, in rare occasions, a tweener can stand out and become a class of its own. A tweener can use its unique, class-defying characteristics to the forefront and cause the skeptics to rethink labels, genres, and classes. Hereditary took me on a journey that I don’t know if a film has before. Is it a familial drama? Yes. Does it succeed as a horror film? You bet. Did you laugh? Of course. I don’t know if Hereditary should work on paper, as it were. It’s pretty brave in its execution and delivery. The hype is well deserved, but the film is not weighed down by the critical success and is able to win over those who are doubtful about another installment of “art house horror”." - 4.5 Stars

Lord Battle - "Ghost stories have always tested the nuclear family. Can the Smiths look past infidelity to keep their children safe from the ghost of the prior tenant? Hereditary is also testing the nuclear family, but this time with a masterful use of metaphor and mise-en-scene pair with meticulously calculated camera work. I should also mention that the acting is stupendous and this is an element in film that I normally overlook, but Hereditary's authentic portrayal of fear is very easy to meet with your own anxieties and credit is due to the cast for this. If you approach Hereditary with a tough guy attitude you'll be robbing yourself of some genuine emotions, so don't let this first wave of horror hype put you in a defensive frame of mind, just see the film." - 4.5 Stars

Randy the Reverberator- There was a day in 2012 when I was on tour and in Los Angeles, which also happened to be the opening weekend of The Place Beyond The Pines; a film about two families and how their sons deal with the sins of their fathers. I woke up early as my friends were all still asleep and walked to the theatre and had an emotional experience that stuck with me for the rest of the day and for weeks to come. This weekend, we get another emotional, yet more horrifying film reckoning with what we literally and metaphorically inherit from our loved ones.

Hereditary begins with the loss of a member of the Graham family; the mother of Annie, and the grandmother to Peter and Charlie. The films' director Ari Aster pays close attention to his characters and this feeling of grief, he patiently lets them go through it right in front of the camera. With wide-angle lenses, his camera captures both the emotions they are going through, and also highlights the sense of isolation by emphasizing the empty space surrounding them. At times, the framing of their household and the patient, slow-moving camerawork reminded me of Tarkovsky and its utterly realistic depiction of grief felt like Funny Games if you stripped away the meta, self-reflective home invasion aspects from it. At this point, I may not be selling you on Hereditary, and it's definitely not a movie for everyone. However, the film is full of suspense and dread which will satisfy those looking for a good scare. It also makes such bold moves, has some scenes I won't ever forget, and performances to match. Toni Collette has to go through so many different emotions in this film, it's incredible and is giving me chills thinking it over right now.

In its 2 hour and 7 minutes run time, I never felt once that the film was dragging or showing us something that wasn't driving the plot forward or adding color to the characters. There is a shift that takes place, which we see coming, and elements of that delve into a territory that I tend to have some distance from. This took me out of the world of the film a bit. Yet, I'll admit that it's done well and ties things together....nicely...." - 4.5 Stars



The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

The mood in theatre 5 at the New Mission (home of the Alamo Drafthouse in San Francisco) on this warm Monday night was one of quiet anticipation. Theatre 5 has become known for housing the edgier films that are too shocking or niche for theatre 1's 300+ seats but have enough merit/demand to summon an audience of 100. An A24 representative was there informing people of prizes under their seats and taking pictures. Around 6PM the theatre lights dimmed for a live stream intro from the Austin, Texas Alamo.
The most interesting part of this intro was a warning. A surprise was going to arrive at each seat during the movie, the warning was "If you are allergic to peanuts, do not eat it". This statement launched me into a flashback where someone in the New Mission lobby was telling me about a local critic who refuses to visit the Alamo because "Eating dinner and sipping a drink is not how one responsibly watches a movie". (I pretentious'd that up a bit). I used to think about this comment a lot, I think it made me feel guilty for taking pleasure in multitasking my favorite hobby of attending a screening with eating dinner... I should say that by this point I had already ordered my lettuce wrapped burger.
The surprise was a piece of chocolate cake and of course, it was served just in time to eat it alongside Charlie. It was interesting to see several people hesitate before eating the desert. I honestly think most of the cake that night was consumed as an excuse to break from the movie, even if only for a couple seconds. By the end of the film, the room had exhaled and several people jumped up and ran for the door. This wasn't from terror, although several people in attendance had verbally emoted throughout the film (the Overlook Hour Podcast host, Clark Little among them). I should add that I  was among these people rushing to the doors, as I had needed to go to the bathroom for the last hour of the film but there was no fucking way I was going to miss a second of the third act. This seemed to be the audiences consensus and a definite sign of an effective film.


- Lord Battle

The Overlook Theatre materialized in the New Mission for a screening on 6/4/2018
*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not affect the rating.

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