Hereditary

Hereditary

2018, R, 127 min. Directed by Ari Aster. Starring Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Ann Dowd, Mallory Bechtel.

REVIEWED By Richard Whittaker, Fri., June 8, 2018

Cluck.

There are moments when a horror film perfectly distills all its terrors into a single sound. Freddy Krueger's claws on metal. The Predator's clicking. Mister Babadook's guttural dook-dook-dook. In Hereditary, it's the percussive beat a child makes when she claps her tongue from the top to the bottom of her mouth. The debut feature from writer-director Ari Aster is an exquisitely crafted box of nightmares, and once you realize that the lid has already closed with you inside, it will leave splinters under your skin.

It starts like a domestic drama: Annie (Collette) is a successful artist, turning her world into miniatures and dioramas. They are a potent visual metaphor, a stand-in for her own mental state, especially in the wake of the death of her mother.

The horror is initially almost purely emotional – and what will always separate the great from the good scary movies is that they would be great even without any extreme, unnatural, or supernatural component. Take the coming shadow away from Hereditary and it is a film about how a family tries to deal with death. Annie is a woman trying to find a reason to grieve for her dead mother, and failing. Her eulogy – delivered to a chapel full of strangers – is a last attempt to put a shroud over a relationship filled with deceits and alienation. It's only once she starts begrudgingly attending a grief recovery support group that the tensions tumble out: her mother's secrets, her senility, and her strange, strained relationship with her grandchildren, Peter (Wolff, far from his previous career-defining work as part of Nickelodeon's The Naked Brothers Band) and Charlie (Shapiro, a Broadway musical fixture making her screen debut), whose emulation of her mother's miniature obsession has its own darker meaning. Meanwhile her husband Steve (Byrne) has taken over the household and child-rearing duties, playing dutiful homemaker to keep the clear cracks in the family from becoming chasms.

And yet there is always something off-kilter in the Graham house. There is a seamless visual collaboration between Aster, cinematographer Pawel Pogorzelski, production designer Grace Yun, art director Richard T. Olson, and set decorator Brian Lives that makes the home as perfectly and unnervingly artificial as Annie's miniatures. Aster slowly injects additional elements of uncanny disquiet – a ring of light, an almost subsonic pulsing, sudden shifts from day to night, and that hideous, repetitive clucking sound – with such perfect pacing that, when the true darkness is exposed, it is impossible for the audience to escape.

Collette's incendiary performance is the burning inferno at the center of Hereditary: As with The Sixth Sense (her other great performance in an unequivocally supernatural drama), she wrings every last, devastating moment of emotional truth. But this is family as ensemble, with both Wolff (fractured, delicate) and Shapiro (an astounding debut built on a otherworldly sense of unease) given far more to do than act as children in peril. They add shading and nuance, rather than just acting as sounding boards for Annie's uncovering of an eldritch truth. Even Byrne takes what could have been a supporting role and elevates Steve to the status of quiet, horrified witness.

Hereditary is a flawless example of slow-burn horror. It stands with and above the best contemporary horror domestic dramas, like Kill List and A Dark Song, and alongside true classics, like The Haunting and The Innocents. And that damn clucking sound will haunt you.

Showtimes

Fri., June 22

1:55, 5:25, 8:15, 11:25

Sat., June 23

1:55, 5:25, 8:15, 11:25

Sun., June 24

1:55, 5:25, 8:15, 11:25

Mon., June 25

1:55, 5:25, 8:15, 10:15

Tue., June 26

5:25, 8:15, 11:25
AFA 1:55

Wed., June 27

1:55, 5:25, 8:15, 11:25

Fri., June 22

9:50am, 12:05, 3:30, 7:30, 11:10

Sat., June 23

9:40am, 11:35am, 3:00, 7:00, 10:45

Sun., June 24

10:05am, 1:00, 4:25, 7:00, 10:35

Mon., June 25

11:20am, 2:35, 4:30, 7:45, 10:55

Tue., June 26

3:10, 6:20, 9:30
AFA 11:45am

Wed., June 27

11:35am, 2:50, 6:00, 9:35

Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane

5701 W. Slaughter, 512/861-7060, drafthouse.com/austin/theater/slaughter-lane

Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Fri., June 22

10:10am, 1:20, 4:50, 8:00, 11:00

Sat., June 23

11:00am, 1:40, 4:50, 8:00, 11:00

Sun., June 24

11:00am, 1:20, 4:50, 8:00, 11:00

Mon., June 25

10:30am, 1:40, 4:50, 8:00, 11:00

Tue., June 26

4:50, 8:00, 11:00
AFA 10:30am, 1:40

Wed., June 27

10:30am, 1:40, 4:50, 7:30, 11:00

Fri., June 22

12:15, 4:15, 6:35, 10:50

Sat., June 23

11:30am, 2:45, 8:00, 9:40

Sun., June 24

11:00am, 2:20, 6:00, 9:10

Mon., June 25

11:35am, 2:50, 6:15, 9:25

Tue., June 26

3:35, 6:15, 9:35
AFA 12:05

Wed., June 27

11:30am, 2:50, 6:25, 9:15

Alamo Drafthouse Village

2700 W. Anderson, 512/861-7030, drafthouse.com

Tuesday matinee Baby Day shows (first show of the day) are intended for parents and their children younger than 6. Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Fri., June 22

10:40

Sat., June 23

10:55

Sun., June 24

10:55

Mon., June 25

10:45

Tue., June 26

10:45

Wed., June 27

10:45

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 South Capital of Texas Hwy, 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Fri., June 22

CC/DVS 2:40, 9:50
CC/DVS, recliners, reserved seating 2:40, 9:50

Sat., June 23

CC/DVS 2:40, 9:50
CC/DVS, recliners, reserved seating 2:40, 9:50

Sun., June 24

CC/DVS 2:40, 9:50
CC/DVS, recliners, reserved seating 2:40, 9:50

Mon., June 25

CC/DVS 2:40, 9:50
CC/DVS, recliners, reserved seating 2:40, 9:50

Tue., June 26

CC/DVS 2:40, 9:50
CC/DVS, recliners, reserved seating 2:40, 9:50

Wed., June 27

CC/DVS 2:40, 9:50
CC/DVS, recliners, reserved seating 2:40, 9:50

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Fri., June 22

digital 9:40am, 12:50, 7:20, 10:35
digital, luxury lounger 9:40am, 12:50, 7:20, 10:35

Sat., June 23

digital 9:40am, 12:50, 7:20, 10:35
digital, luxury lounger 9:40am, 12:50, 7:20, 10:35

Sun., June 24

digital 9:40am, 12:50, 7:20, 10:35
digital, luxury lounger 9:40am, 12:50, 7:20, 10:35

Mon., June 25

digital 9:40am, 12:50, 4:00, 7:20, 10:35
digital, luxury lounger 9:40am, 12:50, 4:00, 7:20, 10:35

Tue., June 26

digital 9:40am, 12:50, 4:00, 7:20, 10:35
digital, luxury lounger 9:40am, 12:50, 4:00, 7:20, 10:35

Wed., June 27

digital 9:40am, 12:50, 4:00, 7:20, 10:35
digital, luxury lounger 9:40am, 12:50, 4:00, 7:20, 10:35

Fri., June 22

digital 10:20
digital, luxury lounger 10:20

Sat., June 23

digital 10:20
digital, luxury lounger 10:20

Sun., June 24

digital 10:20
digital, luxury lounger 10:20

Mon., June 25

digital 10:20
digital, luxury lounger 10:20

Tue., June 26

digital 10:20
digital, luxury lounger 10:20

Wed., June 27

digital 10:25
digital, luxury lounger 10:25

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Fri., June 22

digital 4:40, 7:40, 10:55
digital, luxury lounger 4:40, 7:40, 10:55

Sat., June 23

digital 4:40, 7:40, 10:55
digital, luxury lounger 4:40, 7:40, 10:55

Sun., June 24

digital 4:40, 7:40, 10:55
digital, luxury lounger 4:40, 7:40, 10:55

Mon., June 25

digital 10:15am, 1:30, 4:40, 7:40, 10:55
digital, luxury lounger 10:15am, 1:30, 4:40, 7:40, 10:55

Tue., June 26

digital 10:15am, 1:30, 4:40, 7:40, 10:55
digital, luxury lounger 10:15am, 1:30, 4:40, 7:40, 10:55

Wed., June 27

digital 10:15am, 1:30, 4:40, 7:40, 10:55
digital, luxury lounger 10:15am, 1:30, 4:40, 7:40, 10:55

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Fri., June 22

digital 9:45am, 3:55, 10:15
digital, luxury lounger 9:45am, 3:55, 10:15

Sat., June 23

digital 9:45am, 3:55, 10:15
digital, luxury lounger 9:45am, 3:55, 10:15

Sun., June 24

digital 10:15
digital, luxury lounger 10:15

Mon., June 25

digital 9:45am, 3:55, 10:15
digital, luxury lounger 9:45am, 3:55, 10:15

Tue., June 26

digital 9:45am, 3:55, 10:15
digital, luxury lounger 9:45am, 3:55, 10:15

Wed., June 27

digital 10:15
digital, luxury lounger 10:15

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Fri., June 22

4:25, 7:25

Sat., June 23

4:25, 7:25, 10:15

Sun., June 24

4:25, 7:25, 10:15

Mon., June 25

4:25, 7:25

Tue., June 26

4:25, 7:25

Wed., June 27

4:25, 7:25

Thu., June 28

4:25, 7:25

Galaxy Highland 10

6700 Middle Fiskville, 512/467-7305, www.galaxytheatres.com

No one under 18 will be allowed in the theatre on Friday or Saturday after 7pm without an adult.

Fri., June 22

ClosedCapDescListenHI 10:00am, 12:45, 4:00, 7:25, 10:30

Sat., June 23

ClosedCapDescListenHI 10:00am, 12:45, 4:00, 7:25, 10:30

Sun., June 24

ClosedCapDescListenHI 4:00, 10:30

Mon., June 25

ClosedCapDescListenHI 12:45, 4:00, 7:25, 10:30

Tue., June 26

ClosedCapDescListenHI 7:25, 10:30

Wed., June 27

ClosedCapDescListenHI 4:00, 10:30

Thu., June 28

ClosedCapDescListenHI 12:45, 4:00

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake, 512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Fri., June 22

CC/DVS 12:10, 3:10, 6:45, 9:55

Sat., June 23

CC/DVS 12:10, 3:10, 6:45, 9:55

Sun., June 24

CC/DVS 12:10, 3:10, 6:45, 9:55

Mon., June 25

CC/DVS 12:10, 3:10, 6:45, 9:55

Tue., June 26

CC/DVS 12:10, 3:10, 6:45, 9:55

Wed., June 27

CC/DVS 12:10, 3:10, 6:45, 9:55

Metropolitan

901 Little Texas, 512/447-0101

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Fri., June 22

CC/DVS 12:50, 4:00, 7:10, 10:20

Sat., June 23

CC/DVS 12:50, 4:00, 7:10, 10:20

Sun., June 24

CC/DVS 12:50, 4:00, 7:10, 10:20

Mon., June 25

CC/DVS 12:50, 4:00, 7:10, 10:20

Tue., June 26

CC/DVS 12:50, 4:00, 7:10, 10:20

Wed., June 27

CC/DVS 12:50, 4:00, 7:10, 10:20

Thu., June 28

CC/DVS 12:50, 4:00, 7:10, 10:20

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 N. FM 620, Bldg. B, 512/501-3520, www.themoviehouse.com/trails/

Fri., June 22

reserved seating 10:05

Sat., June 23

reserved seating 10:05

Sun., June 24

reserved seating 10:05

Mon., June 25

reserved seating 10:05

Tue., June 26

reserved seating 10:05

Wed., June 27

reserved seating 10:05

Thu., June 28

reserved seating 10:05

Sky Cinemas

13201 US-290, 512/457-0700, www.skycinemas.com

Fri., June 22

9:20

Sat., June 23

9:20

Sun., June 24

9:20

Mon., June 25

9:20

Tue., June 26

9:20

Wed., June 27

9:20

Thu., June 28

9:20

Starplex 12 San Marcos

1250 Wonder World Drive, San Marcos, 512/805-8000

Fri., June 22

1:00, 4:20, 7:25, 10:25

Sat., June 23

1:00, 4:20, 7:25, 10:25

Sun., June 24

1:00, 4:20, 7:25, 10:25

Mon., June 25

11:00am, 7:25, 10:25

Tue., June 26

1:00, 4:20, 7:25, 10:25

Wed., June 27

1:00, 4:20, 7:25, 10:25

Thu., June 28

1:00, 4:20, 7:25, 10:25

Violet Crown Cinema

434 W. Second, 512/495-9600, www.violetcrowncinema.com

Four-hour parking validation in attached garage with ticket purchase. Reserved seating; bar and cafe on-site.

Fri., June 22

11:25am, 1:10, 3:45, 6:30, 9:40

Sat., June 23

11:25am, 1:10, 3:45, 6:30, 9:40

Sun., June 24

11:25am, 1:10, 3:45, 6:30, 9:40

Mon., June 25

11:25am, 1:10, 3:45, 6:30, 9:40

Tue., June 26

11:25am, 1:10, 3:45, 6:30, 9:40

Wed., June 27

11:25am, 1:10, 3:45, 6:30, 9:40

Thu., June 28

11:25am, 1:10, 3:45, 6:30, 9:40

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Fri., June 22

CC/DVS 3:55, 6:00, 8:50

Sat., June 23

CC/DVS 3:55, 6:00, 8:50

Sun., June 24

CC/DVS 3:55, 6:00, 8:50

Mon., June 25

CC/DVS 10:25am, 1:15, 4:15, 7:20, 10:15

Tue., June 26

CC/DVS 1:15, 4:15, 7:20, 10:15

Wed., June 27

CC/DVS 1:15, 4:15, 7:20, 10:15

Thu., June 28

CC/DVS 10:25am, 1:15, 4:15, 7:20, 10:15

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Hereditary, Ari Aster, Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Ann Dowd, Mallory Bechtel

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