"Reel Reviews: ‘Hereditary’ fails to deliver as summer’s scariest movie" by: Jessica Shepard

   With rave reviews from critics and promises that it might be the scariest movie of the summer, I saw “Hereditary” over the weekend.
   The trailers were off-putting and certainly creeped me out, so I had high hopes for the film, even on an atmospheric scale of horror.
   Even the movie poster tagline: “Every family tree hides a secret,” set the tone for something that would induce fear.
   Hereditary is a supernatural horror film written and directed by Ari Aster, in his feature directorial debut. 
   It stars Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Ann Dowd, and Gabriel Byrne, and follows a family that begins to be haunted following the death of their reclusive grandmother.
   And the film starts right after the grandmother’s death with her funeral.
   Miniaturist artist Annie Graham (Collette), lives with her husband Steve (Byrne), their teenage son Peter (Wolff), and their teenage daughter Charlie (Shapiro). 
      At the funeral of her mother Ellen, Annie delivers a eulogy explaining her fraught relationship with her mother, who was extremely secretive. 
   Steve is later informed that Ellen’s grave has been vandalized, while Annie sees a vision of Ellen in her workshop. 
   While secretly attending a loss support group, she reveals the history of mental illness on her side of the family: her depressive father starved himself to death, her schizophrenic brother accused Ellen of trying to put people inside his body and committed suicide, and Ellen herself suffered from dissociative identity disorder.
   From there, things just go downhill quickly and you can tell that Annie has some sort of mental illness herself even though it isn’t discussed or mentioned in the film aside from the fact that she sleepwalks.
   Annie finds several books on spiritualism while going through her mother’s boxed-up things and just rolls her eyes before shoving the box away and ignoring her paranoia.
   The movie builds quickly to some sort of “great” climax and ending, but, I don’t see it.
   In fact, some of the final “possession” moments were more of a gag and made me laugh.
   Besides, if you’ve seen one possession movie, you’ve pretty much seen them all.
   And this flick can’t beat “Amityville,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” “The Exorcist,” or any of the “Conjuring” movies.
   And Hereditary relies on a lot of the same gimmicks and falls short at the end.
   If you’re looking for a fairly decent atmospheric horror movie and liked similar artistic horror films from the A24 movie studio, then this is right up your alley.
   But, calling it the “scariest” summer movie?
   That’s a bit far-fetched, especially since we have two more months to get through.  
      Hereditary is rated R for horror violence, disturbing images, language, drug use and brief graphic nudity.

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