Hereditary delivers a new kind of horror. One you have never witnessed.
This American supernatural horror film Hereditary is 2018’s groundbreaking movie written and directed by Ari Aster.
It is his feature film directorial debut. It stars the very talented, expressive, and skilled actors including Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, and Gabriel Byrne.
After the death of their strange and secretive grandmother, this family is being haunted by a mysterious presence.
Hereditary was launched on January 21, 2018, in the Midnight section at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, and was theatrically released in the United States on June 8, 2018.
It was very well appreciated and acclaimed by critics.
With Collette’s performance receiving particular praise and much appreciation.
The movie was a commercial success. Making over $80 million on a $10 million budget to become A24’s highest-grossing film worldwide.
Hereditary, truly is as stressful, ominous, horrid, oppressing, emotionally, and physically exhausting as you think it is. This nerve-racking movie made by Ari Aster, a first-time director has pulled off a striking and very uncommon feature.
Presumably, you would not want to go through the distress twice, since this movie has so many complexities, twists, and enigmas it takes time to digest everything you have seen.
If you have already seen Hereditary you know what we are talking about, but if you have never seen this gripping horror-thriller movie you are missing out on a whole lot.
We are going to breakdown the plot and explain the ending of this unusual movie. Spoiler alert, details of the movie, and the narrative are shared below.
The Title Itself
Hereditary, the title itself gives away, you know a little bit of what is left to come. There’s something unusual and peculiarly odd to this bloodline and family.
And while the title also refers to mental illness, the true aspect that the supernatural features stand-in for, in the case of the film itself, there is something unique in Leigh’s bloodline.
She needs to summon Paimon, who will bestow riches upon his followers as long as he is in the body of a male host.
The narrative has supernatural aspects, mental disorders, and more. Illness and terrifying instances prevail with a horrid touch to the overall plot along with a great storyline.
Paimon was in the grandma and when the grandma died, they dug her out of the grave, then transferred her to the bird by beheading her body.
According to the knowledge of Paimon, he just fancies tributes in the form of a severed head. So this carried over to his Charlie form.
Annie, (Toni Collette) the protagonist, a wife, and mother has spent her life trying to keep her mother’s influence away from the family. Especially the male members of the bloodline. She tried to abort Peter and she did not want her mother to even touch Peter.
This circles back to the “schizophrenia” suffered by Annie’s late brother who said that his mother was “trying to put people inside of him.” Scary isn’t it?
Later on, we learn that Paimon needs a male host. Consequently why Annie was okay with her grandmother being close to Charlie.
Ari Ashter the filmmaker spoke to Variety magazine and explained how he pitched this particular plot. “One way that I pitched the film when I was first taking it out was “it’s a story about a long-lived possession ritual told from the perspective of the sacrificial lamb.” Ultimately we are with the family in their ignorance of what’s happening.
But I also wanted to imbue the film with this sinister, more knowing perspective.
Even though we are with the family in their ignorance, the movie itself knows exactly where the story is going. And everything is inevitable. Throughout the film, things are just sort of clicking into place and all those things are driving this family towards one end” said Ari.
Ellen is the strange grandmother we were talking about earlier.
She was a distant, unfriendly woman with secrets of her own. Annie’s personal relationship with her children is concerning.
Her teenage son, Peter has not forgiven her for the night when she was sleepwalking and covered him in paint thinner, almost setting him on fire.
The younger one Charlie is an outlandish young girl who, in an early scene, executes a pigeon and makes it into an odd figurine. Charlie is the most disturbed by the death, asking her mother who will “look after” her now. She claims that her grandmother had wanted her to be a boy.
Charlie is brutally killed when riding in a car driven by her brother.
This damages whatever is left of his relationship with his mother. The post that beheaded her carries the same symbol that is on the necklace Annie’s mother gave her. This same symbol continues appearing during the film.
Annie’s friend from a grief counseling group, Joan played by Ann Dowd shows her how to connect with Charlie beyond the grave. Ultimately, Annie and the audience learn that they are victims in an ancient ritual to bring the demon Paimon into Peter’s body and Joan is part of a coven that Ellen was involved with. If you think this is spooky and horrifying wait till you experience watching this exceptional movie.
Charlie eventually became the host for Paimon. But Paimon still needs a male host of Leigh’s bloodline to bestow her riches.
When Charlie dies, Joan employs this as an opportunity to use the gathering as a way to transport Paimon from Charlie to Peter. Paimon is still able to use his power to burn Steve alive.
And makes Annie chop her own head off, but the cult of Paimon still needs the demon to have a host.
When Peter throws himself out the window, this provides the opportunity for Charlie/Paimon to occupy his body.
The cult wins and Peter gets to spend the rest of his days as a host for a demon that murdered his family.
Joan, addressing Peter as Charlie, swears an oath to him as Paimon, stating that he has been released from his female host, and is free to command over them. The coven members bow to Paimon in the treehouse, resembling one of Annie’s miniature replicas, and Peter clicks his tongue.
This game-changing horror masterpiece had a perplexing end. It left everyone in a dilemma.
The whole family has been spiraling psychotically. The narrative shifts to peter and to the fear of the audience we know he has been possessed. The cult has awaited this exact moment for quite some time and rejoice when everything pans out exactly as they wanted. The story really comes together and the small pieces start making sense.
The ultimate reality of a movie like Hereditary is about the scars of the family we just cannot run from. Whether it is a mental illness or a huge tragedy.
Aster utilizes the supernatural aspect to adequately demonstrate what tone and deeper aspects of the story, he wants to convey. Like in the movie, a family member’s death or the impact it causes can really affect someone’s mental health.
Even without the Paimon tragedy. Hereditary would still be a profoundly sad and depressing movie about a family in a state of collapse. That is the true horror of Hereditary.