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MOVIE REVIEW

Hereditary also known as “El Legado Del Diablo,” “Hereditário,” “Dziedzictwo. Hereditary,” “Hereditary - Das Vermächtnis,” “Hérédité,” “Örökség,” “Η διαδοχή,” «Наследственное»

MPAA Rating: R-Rating (MPAA) for horror violence, disturbing images, language, drug use and brief graphic nudity.

Reviewed by: Francisco Gomez Jr.
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Supernatural Horror
Length:
2 hr. 7 min.
Year of Release:
2018
USA Release:
January 21, 2018 (festival)
June 8, 2018 (wide release)
Copyright, A24 click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, A24 Copyright, A24
Relevant Issues
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FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

Copyright, A24

DEPRESSION—Are there biblical examples of depression and how to deal with it? Answer

What should a Christian do if overwhelmed with depression? Answer

Copyright, A24

About the fall of mankind to worldwide depravity

Rejection of God

How can we know there’s a God? Answer

What if the cosmos is all that there is? Answer

If God made everything, who made God? Answer

What does God say? Answer

Rejection of the Holy Trinity

TRINITY—How can one God be three persons? Answer

Is Jesus Christ God? Answer

What is “THE FEAR OF THE LORD”? and Why is it important? Answer

What is HUMILITY? and WHY is it very important to be humble? Answer

Is Jesus Christ the answer to your questions?
Discover the good news that Jesus Christ offers
Copyright, A24
Deep destructive darkness of Satan and his demons

demons in the Bible

DEMON POSSESSSION and Influence—Can Christians be demon possessed? In what ways can Satan and his demons influence believers? Answer

Who is SATAN, the enemy of God and all people? Answer

Is Satan a real person that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer

Copyright, A24
Occultic darkness

occult rituals, symbols and references in this film

séances

purposely calling for demons

What is the Occult? Answer

THE OCCULT—What does the Bible say about it? Answer


THE FEAR OF THE LORD— What is it? Is it important? Answer

Copyright, A24 Copyright, A24 Copyright, A24
Featuring: Toni ColletteAnnie Graham
Gabriel ByrneSteve Graham
Alex Wolff … Peter Graham
Milly Shapiro … Charlie Graham
Ann Dowd … Joan
Mallory Bechtel … Bridget
Zachary Arthur … Hispanic Boy
Mark Blockovich … Support Group Member
Jake Brown … Brendan
See all »
Director: Ari Aster
Producer: PalmStar Media
Kevin Scott Frakes
See all »
Distributor: Distributor: A24. Trademark logo.
A24

Deep spiritual darkness, evil, demonic attack, occultism, rejection of God

“All like pawns in this hopeless horrible machine”

“Hereditary” is the directorial debut of Ari Aster and follows the character of Annie Graham played by scream queen Toni Collette. Annie is an artist that builds miniature scale models of objects and buildings. Annie’s mother recently passed away and is grieved especially hard by her daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro). The family has a “hereditary” problem with mental illness that has caused incidents that have worried her son Peter (Alex Wolf) and husband Steve (Gabriel Bryne).

Annie begins to uncover family secrets as life changing events happen all around them. Malevolent forces are at work, and the film is set to explore destiny and choice. The family has a fate to fulfill but will they chose to rebel?

The film is produced by A24 studios, a film studio known for its well-produced films that are notorious for its content. Let’s talk about moviemaking quality before content of concern—of which there is plenty for believers to be wary of.

The movie explores its themes in spectacular fashion. Ari Aster puts on a masterclass of filmmaking—even when it is his first feature film. From the first shot the themes and style of the film are established with creativity, and it only continues throughout. Aster understands that it is not what you show but rather what you do not show that terrifies audiences—the fear of what is lurking at the corners of the screen is what moves the movie forward.

The film’s tension winds and winds as it plants seeds of mystery throughout, until it sporadically stops to release the tension and answer a few questions. The cycle of repeated tension and release starts slow, but gets faster and faster as the film goes on, before the film ends in its shocking climax. This due to as much as Aster’s directing as well as his well-written screenplay. The cinematography of Pawel Pogorzelski is immaculate. The sound mixing and editing work perfectly with the eerie score.

Academy Award nominated actress Toni Collette may have earned herself another nomination for best actress with her performance. Her descent into despair is the sail of the movie. Alex Wolff has his breakthrough in this film with a scene that is genuinely heartbreaking in which he evokes shock. Their acting is essential to making the film work. Most horror films fail to be “scary” because characters often act in ways that are unrealistic and allows the audience to disassociate from the film. However, the realistic performances make one believe this is a normal family who react realistically to the escalating horrors.

Lessons

The film follows Annie as she struggles with guilt and fear. Her family has a history of mental illness, and she feels guilty that Charlie is different from other kids. Annie’s own anxiety and sleep walking has put the family in danger at times.

The film uses mental illness as a metaphor for what we fear, and sometimes it’s ourselves. The constant use of mirrors and windows in the film reflects that often times it is not the supernatural that can be perverse, but ourselves as people. The audience fears the terrifying things that lurk at the corners of the cinema screen, as the characters fear what is lurking in the corners of their mind.

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

Scripture teaches us that we have all fallen short of the standard of righteousness God has laid out—perfection.

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” —Romans 3:23

Annie tries to make amends and prevent catastrophe, but she has a hard time with the fact that no one wants to “admit anything they have done.” A crucial step in seeking forgiveness and healing from God is admittance and confession of our sins.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” —1 John 1:9

GUILT—How can I be and feel forgiven? Answer

FORGIVEN?—If God forgives me every time I ask, why do I still feel so guilty? Answer

The characters sometimes suffer peril because they avoid choice and responsibility to one another. Annie at one point exclaims that everything would be easier if someone would just say “I’m sorry.” As Christians, we should try to live in peace with everyone, and to share the love and compassion of Christ—especially when others are suffering difficult times.

“The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” —Matthew 12:30

The film also has plenty to say about hopelessness. Annie manipulates her miniature models of people and houses as much as she feels she is being manipulated. They feel like “pawns in this hopeless horrible machine.” They feel like they have little freedom, and as such have little in the way of hope. There is nothing to be done, and there is nothing they can do. Why? Because as much as Annie tries, she has difficulty discovering truth. She feels her family has a hereditary disposition to keeping secrets and telling lies. Annie is not alone, we all pass on lies and sin from generation to generation.

“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” —Romans 5:12

What is the FALL OF MAN and why is human depravity so pervasive? Answer

Who is SATAN, the enemy of God and all people? Answer

Is Satan A REAL PERSON that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer

SATAN’S STRATEGY—What is one of Satan’s most successful strategies in dealing with followers of Christ? Answer

God offers the freedom and truth Annie desperately seeks in the film through his son Jesus. He is our hope. If we look for him, we will find spiritual freedom.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” —John 8:32

As humans, we heave a natural tendency to sin, but God as provided a way to freedom.

If you would like to learn more about starting a relationship with Jesus click here.

Content of Concern

Violence: Very Heavy. The violence is not abundant for a rated R film, but when it makes appearances it is very explicit. ***Potential Spoilers*** Almost all characters are eventually beheaded: two die from decapitation and another two are beheaded after death. A character is burned alive. There are other instances of violence such as banging of heads on a wall and desk. There are attempted murders through choking. The most disturbing instance is the lingering of the camera on a bloodied decapitated head. ***END SPOILER***

Nudity/Sex: There is not any content dealing with actual sexual relationships. Nudity is not abundant throughout and only makes its appearance in the end in terrifying fashion, but when it does it is explicit. There is full frontal nudity of men and women, with male genitalia being visible in a few instances.

Drugs/Alcohol: Heavy. Marijuana is used as a motif and symbol in the film. Therefore, it is present throughout the film.

Occult: Extreme. While its occult elements are moderate at first, as the film reaches its climax it is revealed that the mystery uncovered was ***SPOILER*** a plan to bring a demon described as a prince of hell back into the world. ***END SPOILER*** There is also contact with the dead through spiritual mediums. There are three momentary possessions. The occult elements is the film’s biggest concern. The occult actions in the film are not glorified and ultimately present the family’s downfall, but Christians (and anyone for that manner) will be made extremely uncomfortable. Allowing your eyes to see such wickedness is something that anyone should be wary of, especially those who are sensitive or a have a background in that environment.

Profanity or Vulgar Language: Very Heavy. There are a couple of uses of strong language such as “d*mn,” “sh*t,” “d*ck,” and others. The most prevalent word is “f*ck,” with over 15 uses. Profanity is heavy, with the Lord’s name taken in vain more than 15 times—“J*sus Chr*st,”“J*sus,” “G*d d*mn,” “Oh my G*d” (6), “Oh G*d” (3), “Oh for G*d’s sakes,” and “h*ll” (2).

In terms of moviemaking quality, this is the way horror movies are meant to be made and seen. Ari Aster directs the film like a veteran director in his debut effort. The screenplay masterfully inverts hero’s journey tropes to keep audiences on its toes. It walks the line of suspenseful arthouse and mainstream terror perfectly. The set design, sound, mixing, acting, and cinematography all work to compelling effect. I expect that “Hereditary” years down the road will be mentioned whenever future film students discuss the greatest horror films of all time in their classrooms.

However, as followers of Christ, this film is clearly not conducive to spiritual growth. It features vile occult themes that are certainly best to stay away from. It presents a strong risk in affecting our walk with God. Despite its quality, I strongly recommend that Christians skip this film.

  • Occult: Extreme
  • Nudity: Extreme
  • Violence: Very Heavy
  • Profane language: Very Heavy
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Very Heavy
  • Sex: Moderate—sexual references

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Neutral
Neutral—The strong technical aspects of “Hereditary” and its slow-burn storytelling may draw the attention of movie buffs, artists, and writers, but be warned this is NOT your standard Hollywood jump-scare movie.

I cannot recommend this film to anyone due to a few instances of extremely disturbing (and lengthy) scenes. The imagery of this film, ESPECIALLY the ending, is not just disturbing to people of any level of faith, but it could also prove to be very traumatic to any believers. I am an artist who has always analyzed challenging material without a hitch, yet I am still haunted by the final scene of “Hereditary.” I’m writing this so you will know to NOT risk being traumatized.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—HRA, age 25 (USA)
Neutral—…“Hereditary” is a film about a Grandma… that passes down a curse to the family. “Hereditary” is a powerful extreme story showing what happens when we play with the occult and the dangers that follow. It shows what could happen to us when Christ isn’t in our lives, our only hope. There is a struggle for hope, and this family never found it. The evil came to them and (spoilers) got them. Even other characters in the film, especially the Grandma Ellen never came to Jesus. Instead, terrifying evil took over. It is extremely dangerous not to come to our only hope, Jesus.

I don’t recommend seeing this film, due to extreme occult content. You’ve heard enough from me without seeing it. Yes it is wildly phenomenal, especially Toni Collette, but still. The ending of the film jumped at me. Didn’t see that coming. There was evil in the film, a lady important to the story saying they have rejected The Trinity. That Trinity I think is Jesus. So as I’ve said, it is terrifying to not accept Jesus as you can fall right into that evil. The Bible tells us we need Jesus to avoid Hell. Adam and Eve sinned, and by that we became sinners no matter how good we are. Jesus came to redeem us from that. He is our only hope.

I’ll put neutral for the film because it has the occult content and cursing etc. But the film is extremely positive in exposing the occult, even if it doesn’t realize it’s doing that. I put very offensive, but in a way it’s less offensive for exposing the devil himself as I was just saying.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Stephen Matthew Jacewicz, age 22 (USA)
Negative
Negative—I won’t say much about this movie other than to say that the ending reminded me of the ending to the movie “The Witch,” where the evil forces are seemingly “glorified” in their apparent victory. Genuinely unsettling ending that I wouldn’t recommend to anyone, despite it being a very well-crafted movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Jonathan Rodriguez

PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.

Secular Movie Critics
…A harrowing story of unthinkable family tragedy that veers into the realm of the supernatural, Hereditary takes its place as a new generation's “The Exorcist”—for some, it will spin heads even more savagely. …
Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out Chicago
…The shock moments here (including one that might send one or two viewers running for the exit) are truly stunning, and grotesque, and bizarre — and they will stay with you long after you’ve gone home for the night. …
Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Time
…Creepy, creepy, creepy. Writer-director Ari Aster makes an impressively unnerving debut with Hereditary, a meticulously crafted horror thriller. …
Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post
…Just as the “French Extreme” film Martyrs set a new standard for garish sadism, “Hereditary” raises the bar on emotional agony. If you want to see things you can never un-see and feel pain you can never un-feel, here’s the ultimate test. …
David Edelstein, Vulture, New York Magazine
…simply too long. However, thanks to Collette’s work, “Hereditary” is a horror movie that really sinks its claws into you. …
Soren Andersen, The Seattle Times
…“Hereditary” only begins as a Greek tragedy. After a few too many twists and turns, it gets warped into a horror soap—an unnerving but ultimately numbing pile of calamities. …
Inkoo Kang, Slate