Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Short Attention Span Review: Hereditary (2018)

Short Attention Span Review: Hereditary (2018)

WARNING:  Spoiler Alert (I don't normally do spoilers in my reviews, but I'm trying to spare you)

Man, the hype for this one had me salivating.  I avoided all marketing materials and reviews as I wanted to go into Hereditary with no idea of just what to expect.  Still, I had heard so much praise that I couldn't help but be all kinds of excited when I finally set down in the theater to scope out a new horror movie that was supposed to scare me senseless.  Well, homies, let me cut right to the chase: when it comes to Hereditary, the hype train derailed.  I don't understand.  I wanted something in the vein of It Follows, The Babadook, The Witch, or even The Ritual via Netflix, as I do believe we are currently enjoying a nice period for well-crafted and deeply unsettling horror films.  I got a shitshow instead.  Look, in fairness, this has to be a case of quality ingredients joining together as part of a terrible recipe.  If you were to prepare a list of ten things a horror film needs to be special, I would say that this picture has seven or eight of those things, and yet the end result is garbage.  This motion picture boasts a magnificent score, impeccable performances, great sets, an unmistakable sense of dread, and there is a tale at the heart of the movie that could yield something both unspeakable and exquisite.  However, a feeble script, an uneven pace, some incredibly stupid characters* and some severe logic gaps in the plot turn the whole thing into a vapid mess.  Hey, why the fuck did Gabriel Byrne hang around for this nonsense?  Better yet, why did he burst into flames in the last reel?  Anyone?  I've got nothing.  And then there's the ending.  Boy, oh boy.  Talk about shitting the bed.  There was a moment when I thought the picture might redeem itself somewhat by sticking the landing.  This produced some severe tension in the audience, but then a series of miscues transformed what may have initially been nervous giggles into full-on laughter.  The packed house I saw this with was quite literally roaring with laughter as the clumsy conclusion went big in pursuit of genuine terror and produced a Monty Python-esque study of possession.

*Example: I shit you not, the main character is given a candle and a parchment containing a spell written in a strange language that she cannot comprehend, and she is instructed to go home, light the candle, and read said parchment.  Despite the fact that this batshit crazy advice is coming from a character who is clearly batshit crazy, our protagonist is all in without a second thought.

Final Grade: Shit Sandwich

Here, Toni Collette, who is a brilliant actess, offers up a startling rendition of my feelings on spending ten bucks and two hours of my life with Hereditary.

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