31 Horror Movies for Halloween – HEREDITARY
I have a pretty extensive history with hating some horror movies (fine, many horror movies) on the first watch. If you haven’t figured this out yet, I’ve watched a lot of horror movies. I’ve been watching horror movies since I was 5. So, I know horror movie tropes. I can tell you when the jump scares are coming based on camera placement and focus. I have pretty much seen it all.
So when I went to see HEREDITARY in theaters I had an idea that there was a cult-like element to it.
After rewatching the film, I still have some issues with it, but I must say Toni Collette’s performance is not one of them. Toni Collette as a grieving mother is painful to watch, visceral. Her wails are primal. There is no doubt that her performance is superb, and probably one of the best acting I’ve seen in a horror film in recent memory.
For me, there’s a disconnect with some parts of the film, particularly with the role that Charlie and Peter play and how they’re both pivotal to the plot. As always, no spoilers.
One of my favorite series of dialogue happens early on in the first classroom scene with Peter. I feel like this bit of dialogue is essentially the entire theme of the movie:
Teacher: If we go by the rule of the hero is undone by his fatal flaw. What is Heracles flaw?
Girl in class seated in front of Peter: Arrogance
Girl in class seated in front of Peter: Because he literally refuses to look at all the signs that are being literally handed to him the entire play.
Teacher: OK. Interesting. So he thinks he has control. Let’s all remember, Sophocles wrote the ORACLE so that it was unconditional meaning that Heracles never had any choice, right? So does that make it more tragic or less tragic that if he has a choice.
Male student: Less
Teacher: Why? –
Male student: Because
Teacher: Care to weigh in Peter?
Peter: About which part?
Unseen female student: I think it’s more tragic because if it’s all just inevitable then that means that the characters never had hope. They never had hope because they’re all just like hopeless, they’re all like pawns in this horrible, hopeless machine.
Later on, we also have some foreshadowing with Charlie cutting off the head of the bird that crashed into her classroom window. Also, earlier on there’s foreshadowing when Charlie tells her mother that “Grandma wanted me to be a boy.”
Also, in that powerful therapy session with Annie, it concludes with the therapist asking Annie “What do you think you feel blamed for?”
She answers “I don’t know,” but we later learn what she is blamed for.
Finally, I missed a lot of detail when I saw the film in the theater, but a lot was answered for me when I was able to pause and read carefully the quotes in the book Anne found, a book titled INVOCATIONS.
In it, she turns to a marked page with an image of King Paimon (God of Mischief).
The highlighted quote in the book says:
“When successfully invoked, King Paimon will possess the most vulnerable host. Only when the ritual is complete will King Paimon be locked into his ordained host. Once locked in, a new ritual is required to unlock the possession.”
The underlined quote below then reads:
“King Paimon is a male, thus covetous of a male human body.”
This answered a lot for me, but I still don’t find this effective – female but needing male, who cares? Couldn’t King Paimon had been a woman? Wouldn’t that have been cool? But I guess we wouldn’t have had a movie otherwise? I don’t know. It just wasn’t effective for me.
I know a lot of this is hard to follow if you haven’t watched the movie. I don’t want to give any major spoilers. Overall, I did enjoy it a little more the second time around.