Some horrors movies don’t live up to their potential due to the director and/or screenwriter lack of ambition or simple awareness of what they can actually do.
Hereditary isn’t bound by such restraint, as it tries to be a bit The Exorcist, a bit The Wicker Man, a bit Poltergeist, all framed within a story about a family that is hit by misfortunes after the death of Ellen Leich, the grandmother and matriarch of sorts. And it almost succedees in doing that. Almost.
The main problem is that the movie is inconsistent in a way that’s almost clockwork, with tonal shifts all over the place, intense scenes with good atmosfere (and great horror movie lighting) followed by other that become inadvertly comical, since the director often just lets the actor go on, even if it means ruining an otherwise good segment with overacting and unvolontary goofiness.
Then, there’s the fact the script isn’t good, with most of the subplots that ultimately go nowhere (the twist in the first act is just for shock value, ultimately doesn’t add to anything), with rules about the supernatural hastly estabilished, incoherent and lacking, and a with a final act that throws any logic to the dogs, and tries to wow you with visuals that ….are not even that impressive.
It’s frustrating, because the movie works great when it focuses on what it does best, the family drama, the acting is quite good (enough to save otherwise laughable scenes), but it’s such a mess, and wastes opportunities, like using the handmade models about family events (created by the mother).
Even though this clearly ISN’T the case, Hereditary feels like a family drama that wasn’t intended to be a horror movie, and was rewritten to that end.
It’s not terrible or bad, it’s just disappointing. Sighs
NOTES: for total disclosure, i watched the movie with an italian dub (being Italian and having access to cinemas here, makes sense to me), a week later than the official release date here (25 july 2018).