Where should I start with Hereditary? I can make cliche comments about how it’s sure to be a sleeper success. Or how it’s more of an experience than a jump-and-scare movie. How about “It’s emotionally grating but not a typical horror movie”? I can focus on the fact that it tears on you as a parent. Or that it’s an amazingly crafted story weaving bits of gore, horror, occult, and supernatural over nearly two hours of film. But what I carried away from Hereditary was an appreciation for the ability to remind the viewer that auditory horror is often overlooked as a genuine catalyst for a truly disturbing cinematic experience.
As a lover of the horror genre for many decades, it’s easy to fall into a space where you watch, see, and appreciate horror… but you lose that magical essence that follows you after the film. When the movie ends, you look deeper into shadows and scare yourself in the dark. I’m desensitized to “shock-and-awe” horror these days. We all have a handful of films that we recall conjuring true fear after watching. The ability to shake us deteriorates as we get older… as we see movie after movie… as the same scare tactic techniques are repeated again and again.
Ju-on/The Grudge was one of the last that I saw that made me uneasy with anticipation of possible noises in the dark. We all remember the spirit whose horrific vocal reverberation made us cringe. Hereditary focuses on that part of the human psyche. It digs in with razor claws and picks at that auditory space that makes your skin crawl.
The sound of a tongue clicking against the roof of a mouth.
The sound of a skull being smashed against a light post.
The sound of a mother screaming in agony outside as heard from within her quiet house.
The sound of someone pounding on a closed door that’s actually a face beating against wood.
The sound of razor wire frantically sawing at bone in order to decapitate a possessed participant.
hereditary 1
The Bottom Line:
It’s easy to shake images we’ve seen often in horror. Gore alone isn’t a trigger for me anymore, but this movie delivers plenty enough disturbing scenes if that’s your want. The focus on nerve-grating sounds in Hereditary gives an unexpected backbone to a twisting story line in a movie I’d never heard of before luckily stumbling upon.
Turn the lights off, and listen. If you don’t see enough to disturb you, you’ll hear it.
While it doesn’t exactly break new ground or anything in the horror department, it’s definitely a welcome break from the typical box-office jump scare fare. If you like horror that’s actually scary, go watch this one. – 9.0/10
-Sandie Monte
Guest Contributor: Nerd Nation Magazine


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