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Ari Aster

It is quite rare in the film industry for the name of the production company/distributor to generate buzz, but with a string of quality indie hits behind them, A24 have done just that. Their latest offering, the brooding horror film Hereditary, is already one of the most anticipated films of the summer. First time filmmaker Ari Aster might be working with familiar tropes in the genre - a haunted house, a menacing ghost, a creepy child - but this is a fresh, sophisticated and surprisingly emotional take on what has come before.

“fresh, sophisticated and surprisingly emotional...” 

The Graham family have recently lost their grandmother Ellen and her passing is affecting them all in different ways. For Annie (the brilliant Toni Collette) who had a complicated relationship with her mother, regret features high on the list. Socially awkward teenager Charlie (Milly Shapiro), who was closer to her grandmother than anyone, is struggling while her stoner brother Steve (Alex Wolff) seems oblivious to the suffering around him. As everyone grieves in their own way, it starts to become clear that Ellen’s spirit might still be in the house, with some unfinished business to settle.

Collette is superb, giving Annie a strong emotional core as someone who feels she’s failed both as a daughter and a mother. And both young actors, Shapiro and Wolff, bring nuanced layers to what might have been stereotypical teenagers. Beautifully crafted, Hereditary goes for the slow burn, effectively creating the troubling dynamics within this ordinary family before unleashing the sense of dread and terror which follows them.