Hereditary review

Hereditary, Director Ari Aster’s bold directorial debut, has achieved global word of mouth. Following its midnight screening at Sundance word quickly spread about the scale of real horror on offer here; a genre triumph that echoed The Exorcist. Buzz about a film doesn’t always serve it well though, particularly when it sets expectations sky high. So while Hereditary doesn’t quite serve up a complete slice of sinister cinematic horror, it does triumph as an indie film that has garnered the uninterrupted attention of mainstream audiences.

The narrative is open to interpretation but its central themes are that of grief, family torment and an underlying unease that centres around distrust. The real horror moments come in seeing Collette’s Annie break down following a tragic accident, her son’s fear of being guilty and unloved, and of not having control of that which is determined to unfold.

Director Aster takes a slow-burn approach, allowing events to unfold at a frustratingly slow pace. Had the flick been sold as a tense thriller rather than a psychological horror, the jump scares, clever camera tricks and  haunting set pieces would deliver a fuller effect. But these moments are fleeting, and they don’t achieve the impact they would were they unexpected, and you’re ultimately left wanting events to shuffle on faster.

Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne support newcomers Alex Wolff and Milly Shapiro, but Byrne isn’t given nearly enough screen time. Collette is, as always, a gem. Channeling raw emotion as a grieving mother, her role as Annie is demanding – and perhaps the most terrifying element of the whole feature – but she never falters.

The final twenty minutes delivers a series of eye-covering moments which ultimately descends into a strange and slightly disappointing finale. Genre cliches continually threaten to creep in, but they never overwhelm the power of the bleak aesthetic or the goosebump-inducing score – this isn’t any old horror fare, Aster leans more towards art house tropes and directs with confidence.

A lot of comparisons have been drawn with The Babadook, another horror centred around grief but one that masters the slow-building dread effect with more force. Despite the perceived flaws there’s no denying that Aster has achieved a lot with this daring debut; if only in drawing mass audiences to an indie film, thus supporting the industry. The writing is pretty spectacular too, human emotion is captured quite perfectly, and Collette leads the film into outstanding territory performance-wise.

It won’t scare you like you might want it too, but it’s certainly an impressive debut from a director who is no doubt now in high demand.

Miss You Already trailer sets high expectations

Can any of you think of a better, quirkier female duo than that of Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette? No, me neither. Both actresses are known for roles in an array of indie and mainstream cinema from Little Miss Sunshine, Whip ItMuriels Wedding and Fever Pitch. Two of the most talented names in the industry, Barrymore and Collette have been in the business of stellar performances and memorable characters for over two decades, and Catherine Hardwicke’s up-and-coming Miss You Already promises just the same. The film currently stands as a filmic female super team, and I like it.

Hardwicke’s film, written by Morwenna Banks, will tell the story of long-term best friends Milly (Collette) and Jess (Barrymore) through the highs and lows of both their shared, and private lives. Following a shattering diagnosis for Milly, audiences will watch as the pair cope with the news together. The film co-stars The History Boy’s Dominic Cooper and The World’s End‘s Paddy Considine. The trailer is looking good, with laugh-out-loud moments present and an undertone of emotional subtlety hovering somewhere amongst these. There are also a great selection of scenes that exemplify the on-screen chemistry the female leads share. Director Hardwicke is well-known for her diverse work behind the camera, and Miss You Already looks to be a step in a different direction for the helmer of skateboard biopic Lords of Dogtown and controversial drama Thirteen.

If the feature film hasn’t been told entirely through the trailer then expect fantastic things from this comedy-drama that hits screens September 25th in the United Kingdom and November 6th in the US.