Film Theory

“Hereditary” (2018) is a Piece of Shit

By February 3, 2017 No Comments
Hereditary Film

In Hamlet, the underlying dramatic premise is that the sins of the parents are passed onto their children. In the same vein, “Hereditary” does a great job…of not coming anywhere fucking close. In fact, I’m not sure what the hell they were trying to achieve at all. This film was a shit-stain waste of my fucking time, and the most exposition-driven drivel I’ve seen all year. It is not a difficult film; it is not complicated. It’s tiringly lazy and predictable.

Don’t worry if you’re not sure how you feel about this movie because the music will tell you exactly what to feel and when. I mean, I don’t blame the composer: if I had to work on a project that fucked up this bad, I’d polish the shit out of that turd. And in all fairness, the music HAS to be over the top, lest you laugh out loud in moments that are intended to be serious.

I’m going to spoil this movie, so if you have any intention of watching it (please don’t, you really deserve better), stop here.

In a good movie, each scene has a particular objective that moves the main character closer to or further from his/her ultimate goal – the thing he or she wants (and succeeds or fails to get) by the end of the movie. There isn’t a single scene objective in the entire film, which is remarkable in its own right. Every scene is merely exposition…trying to get you to give a shit about ANYONE in this picture through painfully labourious dialogue. And it doesn’t stop there: these creatively bankrupt shits will show you insert after insert of foreshadowing, like phone messages, emails that read “United Psychiatrics” so you know they’re reaching out to a therapist, pamphlets with “Séance!” brightly coloured, and giant signs reading “Losing a Loved One Support Group” in front of a circle of people sitting inside a high school cafeteria after hours. I mean, do you really think we won’t know it’s a goddamned support group the minute the mom starts talking? And she just launches into it, like “Let me tell you every nonsensical detail about my life, starting from when I didn’t get a pony all the way until my dad starved himself to death because of a psychological disorder that has no bearing in this particular movie….” Jesus, lady, save some therapy for the rest of us. You think YOUR story is bad? I had to PAY for this movie…DO YOU KNOW HOW I’VE SUFFERED!?!

Family at Dinner TableThis movie doesn’t know what it wants to be; “Rosemary’s Baby,” “The Babadook,” “It Follows,” who knows? And you see every troupe there is within the horror genre. Here’s a short list of the trite, derivative bullshit you’ll experience because this filmmaker is a tasteless sonofabitch:

  • flipping through a book of creepy kid drawings
  • tense family dinners
  • jump scares
  • cheap foreshadowing
  • random scary dream sequences
  • startling awake (in a bed or at school sitting at a desk)
  • seeing distorted reflexions of one’s self
  • taking nondescript pills or medicine
  • mentions of schizophrenia and Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)
  • rummaging through arcane books or revealing family photos
  • searching for family secrets in a spooky attic
  • walking in a creepy way (like on the ceiling or in upward bow position)
  • crying at a stoplight in one’s car….

…Holy fuck, I didn’t even realise there were this many. I guess that’s why this two-hour film felt like it was lumbering into three-hour territory. But I swear if one more person tries making an innocuous, generic noise like a tongue click into something scary, I’m going to beat them to death.

The camerawork in this film is trash; none of the movement is motivated: it’s just cheap, mildly interesting shot after another. The camera arbitrarily pushes in slowly, then arbitrarily pulls back out. For no god-dang reason!

There’s a scene that I can only describe as being so comedically tasteless, I wondered if it was a deleted scene from “Final Destination” that was written by Adam Sandler and directed by the Farrelly Brothers. The little girl is suffering an allergic reaction to peanuts (don’t worry, they labouriously ask about peanuts from the very first scene) and tries to get more air by sticking her head out the window. While her brother is driving 60-80 mph (so fast!), he sees a dead animal in the road and swerves just enough to knock her head off on a nearby telephone pole. Don’t even get me started on how this would even happen…. The point is that this scene is fucking HILARIOUS. It’s so asinine that you can’t help but laugh, even though it’s supposed to be (and would be) horrifying.

Outside of the dialogue trying to fill you in on everything, it’s also syntactically stupid. When referring to a set of voodoo-summoning instructions, the dad cynically asks, “What language even is that?” Umm, let’s say it was in English…would you even fucking know? I can’t say enough about how much talking there is to fill in gaps. In many cases, you can see the actors’ mouths moving where they ADR’d new words because I’m assuming the previous lines didn’t make sense. This whole fucking MOVIE doesn’t make sense, and not because it’s enigmatic…oh no, I get what you guys are trying to do. You’re just fucking terrible at doing it. The end is so out of left field that they actually have to explain off-screen how the daughter was originally a reincarnation of some devil, but they finally found a male body to host him properly. But you only catch wind of this narrative arc an hour and ten minutes into the picture…. What the bloody fucking hell, you twats?

There’s a scene at the high school where a professor is discussing the story structure of a Sophocles play. I wish they had asked the actor to talk a little longer, maybe to help them with their own disaster of a story. Maybe he could’ve helped them to add some extra drama to this trash, and made it a little more interesting. Really anything would’ve helped. This poor excuse for a movie could only go up, as it had clearly hit rock fucking bottom.