January 23rd, 2018       Posted by Frederik       Display Comments

That’s the headline from one of the reviews after Toni’s upcoming horror film “Hereditary” had its world-premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this week. Sounds like a great leading role in an unusual horror film. Count me in. Here’s a collection of reviews. Edit: More reviews from the “big ones” have been added as well:

The Hollywood Reporter, David Rooney (January 24, 2018)
Arguably the most effective domestic horror chiller since The Conjuring and The Babadook, this A24 release should hit discerning genre fans right where they live. Aster’s ability to modernize his obvious reverence for the expert mood modulation, visual command and layered characterizations that defined sophisticated horror of the 1960s and ’70s catapults the writer-director into the vanguard of contemporary horror auteurs. The film’s superb cast, led by an astonishingly good Toni Collette, represents another strong draw.

Variety, Owen Gleiberman (January 24, 2018)
Collette’s performance is staggering. She plays Annie as a woman who begins to wear her buried rage and guilt on the outside. It pours out of her, as if she were “possessed,” and indeed she is — but by what, or whom? The fear and violence that secretly dominate her express the spirits that came before her, incarnated by no one but herself.

Vulture, Kyle Buchanan (January 24, 2018)
Once Hereditary finally shows its cards, Aster goes full-throttle and serves up some memorably scary images and unnerving sound motifs that had the audience yelping. The back half is where Collette really pulls the stops out, and it’s a pleasure to watch her get such a full-fledged leading-actress showcase, even though the poor woman goes through hell.

Screen Daily, Tim Grierson (January 25, 2018)
Collette is asked to shoulder a great deal as the film’s main character. It’s typical for the lead in a horror movie to react to seismic shocks and deliver ear-splitting screams, but Aster has given her a role which is impressively nuanced. Hereditary paints a portrait of a woman who has lived her life feeling cursed — she’s fearful that, for some reason, she deserves the woes that have visited her family. Exactly why she holds onto this belief is part of the delicate character development that Hereditary finesses into a story that gets increasingly more tense. Collette wears Annie’s anguish movingly, the film’s horrors always connecting to the character’s sense of inadequacy as a mother and daughter.

Vanity Fair, Richard Lawson (January 25, 2018)
I don’t want to say anything else about what goes on in Hereditary, because it benefits from pure discovery. What I can say is that Collette is a force throughout, turning in a full-bodied performance that gloriously skirts the edges of camp before returning us to a place of primal humanity. It’s a big, rewarding bit of work, and a good reminder that Collette should be let loose and given room to do her thing more often.

IndieWire, Eric Kohn (January 23, 2018)
Before it becomes an ultra-creepy haunted house movie, “Hereditary” is an almost-unbearable study of the grieving process. A family copes with traumatizing loss, screaming, crying, and growing apart as the scariest aspect of their lives becomes the actual hardships of each passing day. At its center, Annie (a terrifically unhinged Toni Collette) copes with her mother’s death by throwing herself into building a series of intricate miniatures in her large, creaky home. Her distracted husband (Gabriel Byrne) mostly keeps to himself, while her teenage son Peter (Alex Wolff) sulks on the sidelines, and his spooky younger sister Charlie (Milly Shaprio, who won a Tony for “Matilda” on Broadway) lurks around saying little. Just when it seems like “Hereditary” is entering traditional creepy-kid territory with Charlie giving off serious “The Omen” vibes, the movie takes an abrupt, violent twist that further the complicates the family’s dark moment.

Bloody Digusting, Fred Topel (January 24, 2018)
Like The Exorcist tried to explain it away medically, of course, this family assumed they had a medical diagnosis first. But no, they really are in a horror movie. It’s still respectful to the idea that this family dealt with the psychological side. At least there’s treatment for that. There’s no psychiatrist for a medium.

Thrillist, Dan Jackson (January 23, 2018)
When you see the film, you’ll know why that’s a good thing. Hereditary opens with the text of an obituary appearing on the screen, establishing a tone of ominous dread. The dead woman’s daughter Annie (Toni Collette) is struggling with her grief, which becomes clear as she delivers a caustic eulogy for her mother that describes her as a “secretive” and “private” woman. Annie’s quiet husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne) keeps his distance; her young daughter Charlie (Milly Shaprio) scribbles gruesome portraits in a journal; her teenage son Peter (Alex Wolff) treats his anxiety with copious bong hits. Together they live in a large, creepy house with an upstairs workspace where Annie builds tiny miniatures of her own family life. Think of it as Scary Tiny Furniture […] To spoil the terrifying incident that comes next — and swiftly pushes the already heightened pitch into an almost absurd register — would be inhumane. (This is all I’ll say: The screams in the theater were almost as frightening as what was on screen.)

The Young Folks, Katey Stoetzel (January 23, 2018)
ollette is a frightening wonder. She begins as a grieving daughter, struggling with the idea that she hated and loved her mother. Collette embodies grief in a way that’s nuanced and familiar. As the dread plummets and Annie turns more erratic, Collette delivers a convincing transformation into someone so consumed by the tragedies in one’s life that all she can do is hang onto the past. Aster knows how to draw things out, and when to let them end. Shots linger on the most disturbing images – Collette’s facial expressions on moments of shock, fear, and grief last long enough that it almost seems like her face is distorted – as well as on the most emotional scenes. Sometimes, it’s quiet. Otherwise, the score by Colin Stetson is loud, foreboding, and will have your heart pounding loud enough to become part of the percussion.