PARK CITY, Utah — If you’d ever like to sleep again, then you should probably steer clear of A24’s latest horror offering.
Hereditary, which flew in under the radar on the Sundance Film Festival lineup, is the paralyzing feature-film debut of shorts director Ari Aster, who wrote the script four years ago amid unspecified family turmoil.
“It was just this rapid succession of very, very painful things happening and the prevailing feeling became that we were cursed,” Aster told festival-goers after a Monday night screening, where shrieks and jolts started in the audience within the first 10 minutes and only mushroomed from there.
Like any scary movie, you’ll probably get the most enjoyment out of Hereditary if you go in blind. But to give you at least a vague sense of what it’s about — minor spoilers ahead — the film centers on the Graham family, who are heading to their estranged grandmother’s funeral when the story begins. While Annie (Toni Collette), Steve (Gabriel Byrne) and their teenage son, Peter (Alex Wolff), are remarkably unaffected by the loss, the late matriarch still has a sinister grip on daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro, bound to go down as a child horror-movie icon).
Creepy drawings, fiery seances and decapitated floating corpses are just a few of the relentless scares that will haunt your nightmares after watching Hereditary, which grounds its thrills in harrowing family drama, and manages to make well-trodden genre tropes feel fresh with twisted humor and minimal special effects.
If you don’t believe us when we say Hereditary is a modern-day horror masterpiece, many others at Sundance found it equally unsettling.
Although no release date has been set, Hereditary will be released by A24, which has a strong track record with horror releases including The Witch, It Comes at Night and The Blackcoat’s Daughter. You can check out the first official poster below.