Sinister Screens

Hereditary (2018) ★★★★



Every family tree hides a secret.

Following the death of Ellen Leigh, the matriarch of their family, her daughter Annie and the rest of the family start to uncover disturbing secrets about their heritage. Their daily lives are not only impacted, but they also become entangled in a chilling fate from which they cannot escape, driving them to the brink of madness.


Hereditary is an exceptional film on a number of levels. Its popularity as a horror film continues to grow, but few in the mainstream really understand it on its deeper levels. It features the spirit Paimon. King Paimon appears as the ninth spirit in the Ars Goetia, the 22nd spirit in the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, and in the Dictionnaire Infernal. In demonology, Paimon is a king of hell who commands legions of demons. He is often depicted as a man riding a camel and is said to possess extensive knowledge of arts and sciences. The film’s depiction of Paimon draws from these historical and occult descriptions. Anyone having studied the occult would find this film chilling on an even deeper level.

Besides its occult ties, Hereditary molds both psychological and supernatural horror brilliantly throughout. Toni Collette, in perhaps her most powerful role to date, stars as a mother who is quickly losing her grip. Alex Wolff plays one of the more tortured characters as the son. Director Ari Aster creates an experience at face value which is an effective horror movie. But it goes much deeper. His follow-up horror project Midsommar was bizarrely haunting. And his latest Beau Is Afraid is another dark, comedic fantasy-adventure. But Hereditary remains by personal favorite so far. There is no comedy here, just bleak and heartbreaking horror at its finest.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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