Hereditary 2018


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Hereditary 2018

When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry.

Hereditary (2018): An In-Depth Analysis


Released in 2018, “Hereditary” is a psychological horror film that has garnered critical acclaim for its intense narrative, chilling atmosphere, and standout performances. Directed by Ari Aster in his feature film debut, “Hereditary” delves into themes of family trauma, mental illness, and supernatural horror, leaving a lasting impact on its audience.

Plot Summary

“Hereditary” follows the story of the Graham family, who are grappling with the loss of their secretive matriarch, Ellen. The family consists of Annie (Toni Collette), her husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne), their teenage son Peter (Alex Wolff), and their young daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro). As they mourn Ellen’s death, the family begins to unravel dark secrets about their ancestry, leading to horrifying and tragic consequences.

Act One: The Unsettling Beginning

The film begins with the funeral of Ellen, whose presence looms over the family despite her death. Annie, an artist who creates miniature dioramas, starts experiencing disturbing visions and unearths cryptic information about her mother’s secretive life. Meanwhile, Charlie exhibits strange behavior, hinting at a connection to her grandmother’s hidden past.

Act Two: Descent into Madness

Tragedy strikes when Charlie dies in a gruesome accident caused by Peter. The family spirals into grief and guilt, particularly Annie, whose relationship with Peter deteriorates. In her desperation, Annie attends a support group and befriends Joan (Ann Dowd), who introduces her to spiritualism and a séance to communicate with Charlie. This act unleashes malevolent forces that plague the family.

Act Three: The Horrific Climax

As supernatural events intensify, Annie discovers that her mother was part of a cult that worships a demon named Paimon. The cult aims to transfer Paimon’s spirit into a male host, with Peter being the intended vessel. The film culminates in a series of terrifying events, leading to the possession of Peter and the horrific demise of the remaining family members.

Themes and Symbolism

Family and Grief

“Hereditary” explores the profound impact of familial relationships and the inherited nature of trauma. The film portrays how unresolved grief and hidden secrets can destroy a family from within.

Mental Illness

The film also addresses the theme of mental illness, as Annie’s family has a history of psychological disorders. The blurring line between reality and delusion in Annie’s experiences raises questions about the influence of mental illness versus supernatural occurrences.

Supernatural Horror

At its core, “Hereditary” is a supernatural horror film. The gradual revelation of the cult and the demonic presence builds a sense of dread and inevitability, culminating in a terrifying climax that blends psychological and supernatural horror.

Critical Reception

“Hereditary” received widespread critical acclaim upon its release. Critics praised Toni Collette’s powerful performance, Aster’s direction, and the film’s ability to create a deeply unsettling atmosphere. It holds a high rating on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, with many considering it one of the best horror films of the 21st century.


The film garnered several award nominations and wins, particularly for Collette’s performance. It also sparked discussions about the portrayal of horror in modern cinema, highlighting Aster’s potential as a significant new voice in the genre.


“Hereditary” is a masterful blend of psychological and supernatural horror that explores deep-seated family trauma and the inescapable nature of inherited pain. Its complex narrative, compelling performances, and chilling atmosphere make it a standout film in contemporary horror cinema. Whether you are a horror enthusiast or a casual viewer, “Hereditary” offers a haunting experience that lingers long after the credits roll.

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