Hereditary: Patient Terror

Excellent article on the slow burn of Hereditary.

WARNING: Full spoilers for Hereditary and graphic images are included in this article. 

It takes a special type of fear to evoke laughter. This is a lesson that took time for me to learn. When I first saw Ari Aster’s magnificent, innards-shreddingly-frightening film Hereditary in theatres, I became increasingly annoyed by brief outbursts of laughter from audience members during the final twenty minutes of the film. As Annie’s headless body sailed up and into the glowing treehouse, gliding unhindered as if drawn by spectral wires, giggles erupted. It wasn’t until months later, on a second viewing, that I understood these reactions. There’s something about the way Hereditary handles its storytelling that, once tension explodes into action, incites a fear so intense, so discomforting, and so sinister in its unfamiliarity as to be inexpressible by a scream. We scream because fear has made silence impossible. We laugh because screaming no longer…

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