Hereditary – UHD Review

Make it stop! Make it stop! 2 Stars

Following the death of their matriarch, we find the Graham family both emotionally and physically isolated. Mother Annie (Toni Collette) recedes into her artistic passion, the creation of miniature dioramas that depict deeply personal perspectives. Son Peter (Alex Wolfe) uses pot to dull his mind and to pick up girls. Daughter Charlie (Newcomer Milly Shapiro) is ostracized because of her looks and quirks. And father Steve (Gabrielle Byrne) seems to retreat into his reading and professional studies.

Annie reflects on the troubles the family has endured during her mother Ellen’s eulogy. Many of the mourners are strangers, and Ellen had private rituals and grievances. The family had been estranged, but reunited after Charlie’s birth and as Ellen got terminally sick. Annie lies to her family about going out to the movies, when she is actually turning to grief support groups in order to cope with her anger and loss.

As the family moves on, elements from the past resurface, calling Annie and the children’s sanity into question. But is it really their grasp on reality that is slipping or is something more sinister in their genes?

Hereditary (2018)
Released: 08 Jun 2018
Rated: R
Runtime: 127 min
Director: Ari Aster
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery
Cast: Alex Wolff, Gabriel Byrne, Toni Collette, Milly Shapiro
Writer(s): Ari Aster
Plot: After the family matriarch passes away, a grieving family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences, and begin to unravel dark secrets.
IMDB rating: 7.5
MetaScore: 87

Disc Information
Studio: Lionsgate
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Rating: R
Run Time: 2 Hr. 7 Min.
Package Includes: UHD, Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Case Type: Keep Case
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: A
Release Date: 09/04/2018
MSRP: $42.99

The Production: 3.5/5

It’s going to be near impossible to fully review Hereditary in detail without talking about major spoilers that occur about a half hour in and the sequence that fills the final 20 minutes, but I’ll do my best.  I had heard many impressions of the theatrical release that generally fell into two camps: “This is the dumbest movie I have ever seen” vice “This is the scariest movie I have ever seen”.  Having seen the UHD twice now, first with my parents on a generic 1080p / stereo room and then again in my 4k projection and HDR theater with full complement of sub and speakers, I disagree with both assessments.

Hereditary is not a dumb movie, but its pacing works strongly against it.  The performance by Collette is award worthy.  Wolfe and Shapiro are equally creepy.  But creepy does not sustain interest for 2 hours.  And I found Byrne’s milquetoast skeptic unbelievable and unsympathetic.

Despite a half dozen jump scares, I didn’t find Hereditary scary overall.  There IS a palpable sense of underlying dread and a number of shocks that cement it firmly in the horror genre.  The dragged-out plot, a lack of a hero worth rooting for, and a litany of obvious clues just had us ready for the whole thing to end, just as it started getting interesting. Add on top of that the confusion about just what is passed down through the family (mental health or something more strange), plus things that are left unexplained even after the finale, left us sour on the whole thing.

There’s a really strong horror film in there somewhere, but it needs about 20 minutes trimmed out to find it.

Video: 4.5/5

3D Rating: NA

Per our own RAH: “Shot on an Alexa Mini, and finished as a 2k DI, the new 4k Blu-ray from Lionsgate, represents this film as dark, with occasionally fully lacking mid-tones, and deep shadows.”  I agree with his assessment on the color tone, it’s a very dark film.  On my parent’s un-calibrated panel we saw a lot more of the creepy stuff in the dark corners than I was able to see on my calibrated PJ.  Including more detail on some naughty bits =)

One area I had no complaint about was the amount of detail found in the areas in focus.  Close ups on faces resolve pores and individual hairs, down to Charlie’s own eye lines.  I have no issue with 2K DIs on UHD and am not afraid to say so.  HDR color timing is way more important than pure resolution, even at 120″.  Hereditary does carry a Dolby Vision encode I will eventually check out on my OLED, but my two viewings were first in SDR and then in HDR10, and both delivered exactly the shadowy look the film promised.

 

Audio: 4/5

I loved the musical score while watching in stereo, but listening to the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 really showed the level of detail that was present in the creepy sound effects.  Charlie’s clucks whisper in your ear in just the right direction that I jumped at their presence where I just laughed it off in stereo.

Special shout-out to Colin Stetson’s creepy and mystical soundtrack.  Especially the mind-bending ‘Reborn’ track at the end.  I’m definitely adding that track and a few others to my collection!  It’s got the biggest sound stage of the whole movie and really grabs your attention when it hits.

Another big shout out to the atmospheric audio cues.  From bugs to industrial background noise, it’s often in the small audio bits coming from the rears that really hint at the changeups in action before they hit.  There’s often a palpably-unnerving hum, and it’s quite effective!

Special Features: 2.5/5

Not much to report here. There’s a short featurette called Cursed that doesn’t really give any more of the details about what the ending ‘means’, which it’s billed as doing.  It does give some quality time interviewing the kids and Collette, plus brief insights from Writer/Director Ari Aster.

Besides that there is a handful of wisely deleted scenes.  These all appear to be from the first hour, which would have prolonged the pain of  the over long cut.  Finally there are some detailed shots of the diorama models that feature in the film.

Overall: 3/5

I really wanted to like Hereditary but only found much to bite on in the final 20 minutes.  I’ve gotta give props to the highlight of this release, which is found in the creepy sound effects and sharp score by Stetson.  I recommend being prepared for a slow boil that unwraps as the characters do, plunging into horror rather than big scares.  There’s two great performances buried in here too, by Collette and Sheridan.

The question I have most tho is: might there be anything that could develop, sequel wise?  There’s a nugget of something in that conclusion that could be really interesting to explore.  If that happens, sign me up!  At least if they put out something that moves along at a bit quicker pace.

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Published by

Sam Posten

editor,member

22 Comments

  1. You're far more generous to this film than I felt after watching it. I've never walked out of a theatrical screening in my life, but I came really close on this one. By the time the movie was over, all I could think about was what groceries I wanted to pick up on the store on my way home, and what I wanted to make for dinner. Over the past few years, I've averaged watching over 300 movies per year, and I don't think I've had less fun watching a movie in recent memory than I did on this one.

    Suffice to say, I will not be purchasing this disc 😀

    That said, if there's anyone who truly loved this movie, I would be interested in better understanding what it was about the movie that appealed to you. I'm curious if it's just not a movie for me or if I missed something somehow that would have made it work better for me.

  2. Josh Steinberg

    I only saw it because a) MoviePass and b) it got outstanding critical reviews from respected publications. I am at a loss as to why top critics thought so highly of it.

    In a word: Collette. Her performance was wide ranging and meaty. The poor reception from non critics can't be pinned on her. It's in the editing, not even the writing and directing either. The writer/director had a good kernel of an idea but lost it in trying to pace it too long.

  3. I didn't enjoy Toni Collette's performance at all. I think she's a talented actress, but it was just so over the top in a way that was not enjoyable to watch, or even believable to me. But hey, I'm the one person who thinks Winona Ryder gave one of the worst performances ever in Stranger Things, so what do I know?

  4. Josh Steinberg

    I didn't enjoy Toni Collette's performance at all. I think she's a talented actress, but it was just so over the top in a way that was not enjoyable to watch, or even believable to me. But hey, I'm the one person who thinks Winona Ryder gave one of the worst performances ever in Stranger Things, so what do I know?

    I have similar feelings about Collette and Ryder, and also Sarah Paulson in American Horror Story.

  5. Well I Just saw it and I thought it was terrific.

    Not really scary but more creepy with terrific performances. Especially Toni Colletes.

    I wasn’t bored for a minute. I loved the sense of dread throughout and I really dug the story and especially the ending.

    I was really expecting to hate it based on Josh’s opinion since we usually agree on most films. Gotta say Josh ( and Adam) we’re on opposite ends on this one.

    One of the better “horror” films I’ve seen in a long time.

    Think I’ll go out and buy the 4K tomorrow.

  6. Tino

    Well I Just saw it and I thought it was terrific.

    Not really scary but more creepy with terrific performances. Especially Toni Colletes.

    I wasn’t bored for a minute. I loved the sense of dread throughout and I really dug the story and especially the ending.

    I was really expecting to hate it based on Josh’s opinion since we usually agree on most films. Gotta say Josh ( and Adam) we’re on opposite ends on this one.

    One of the better “horror” films I’ve seen in a long time.

    Think I’ll go out and buy the 4K tomorrow.

    I didn't quite like it as much as you did but I liked it. Especially the aforementioned sense of dread that runs through the whole movie and the performances.

  7. TravisR

    I didn't quite like it as much as you did but I liked it. Especially the aforementioned sense of dread that runs through the whole movie and the performances.

    I think that's the line of demarcation between people who liked the film and people who didn't. I never felt the sense of dread, even though I was aware I was supposed to, so everything after the telephone pole just felt like a long, boring slog. Especially since grandma's deal could be pieced together well before the big reveal.

    Milly Shapiro is such an unconventional-looking actress, and her performance in this is so unconventional, that it kept me interested. The ride home from the party had me successfully tense. But after that, the thing completely deflated for me and the rest was just an interminable dirge toward the end credits.

    I don't like it when people shit on things I love, so this will be my last round of complaining about the movie. But man did I hate it.

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