Movie Review: Hereditary (2018)

Trauma, we all experience it in one form or another. Aaaaaaand with that, you should be aware that the jokes won’t be flowin’ throughout this post. So let’s just get one out of the way right now, before shit gets serious. What do you call in Aussie actress who fetches her paycheck? Toni Collect.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Hereditary”.

After the death of one of their relatives, the Graham family does their best to move on. But that isn’t so easy, as increasingly strange and disturbing things keep happening around them. Talking about the narrative of “Hereditary” without getting into too many details is difficult, as I feel it is one best left experienced knowing as little as possible. Because it’s not some typical horror narrative, and don’t worry, I’m not pulling out that whole “elevated horror” bullshit. I’m just saying that if you’re expecting spooky jumpscare fest number gazillion, then you’re gonna be sorely mistaken. “Hereditary” is mostly a slow burn family drama that also happened to get under my skin thanks to some bone-chilling imagery, tragic and believable writing, and an eerie atmosphere. It’s been a while since I watched a scary movie that got under my skin this much, while also keeping me emotionally invested in the drama.

The characters in this are flawed, damaged, nuanced, and simply enthralling to watch, and a lot of that comes down to the stellar cast. Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Gabriel Byrne, and Ann Dowd are all fantastic in their respective roles. There’s not a single weak link in this entire cast.

The score for the movie was composed by one Colin Stetson, and I think he did a great job with it. It’s eerie, it’s emotionally charged, it’s tense, and it just generally fits the movie quite well, often elevating some already stellar moments throughout. It’s not one of those I’m gonna find myself listening to in my spare time, but I did think it was good.

“Hereditary” was the first feature film written and directed by Ari Aster, who also did “Midsommar” (which I talked about last year). And holy fucking shit, this dude knows what he’s doing. Whenever someone gets to make their first feature, there’s something that might feel rocky about the craft… but not here. Aster shows skill far beyond his years, building an unsettling atmosphere and suspense seldom seen in modern horror. And when mixed with Pawel Pogorzelski’s often symmetrical and very rigid cinematography, you get a movie that is both beautiful and unsettling to look at. Speaking of unsettling visuals, I should warn that there’s some incredibly distressing visuals at a few times. I can stomach violence and gore and stuff… but some of the stuff here managed to get a strong reaction from me. So consider yourself warned.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 87/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7.3/10.

“Hereditary” to me is a visceral and haunting horror-drama like no other. It has a great story, really good characters, fantastic performances, really good music, and excellent directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Hereditary” is a 9.89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Hereditary” is now completed.

Give Toni Collette an Oscar, you cowards.

Movie Review: The Babadook (2014)

That’s right, more Month of Spooks stuff coming your way. So let’s stop it with this dawdling and get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Babadook”.

Amelia (Essie Davis) is a woman who’s had to try to raise her rambunctious son all on her own after her husband’s death. And soon her life is turned even further upside down when a sinister force starts seeping into her life, turning her challenging life into a hellish one. So now we have our plot. And I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand you have a dramatic thriller about the psychological struggles of this mother. And I find that stuff utterly compelling and kind of horrifying. Then we have the monster with the goofy name side with the plot… and those parts take me out of the movie quite a bit. Sure, those bits provide some decent creepiness, but said creepiness doesn’t stop it from taking me out of the experience. Had the plot stuck to the psychological drama, I would’ve given this movie top marks. I know, I shouldn’t judge a movie for what it could’ve been, but I am just saying that the current state of it doesn’t quite gel for me. There is a great plot in here, but there’s also a monster grabbing me and pulling my ass away from it.

The characters in this are all flawed and pretty interesting. First up we have Essie Davis as Amelia, the woman at the center of this story. She deals with a lot of grief and other emotions, even though it’s been so long since the event that caused it. And it doesn’t exactly help that her son is a real troublemaker. All of this amplified when the titular sinister force starts coming into her life, making everything horrible for her. She’s quite an interesting character. And Essie Davis is absolutely fantastic in the role. Next we have Noah Wiseman as Samuel, Amelia’s son. He’s loud, annoying, emotionally dependent on his mother, and just causes Amelia a lot of pain. But you can also tell that he never means any ill will by it all, and it’s interesting to see what effect it has on his immediate surroundings. And Wiseman is… I don’t know how to put it. There are moments where his performance is pretty good, and there are moments where it’s honestly kinda bad. So let’s just chalk it up to “fine”. And the supporting performances from people like Hayley McElhinney and Daniel Henshall are good.

The score for the movie was composed by Jed Kurzel, and it was pretty good. It managed to blend creepiness with some decently emotional beats as well to create a score that just worked quite well for the movie.

“The Babadook” was written and directed by Jennifer Kent, and I think she did a good job with it. The movie is decently shot, and Kent manages to bring in some pretty good dread throughout with her direction. This movie is decently creepy. It’s also quite impressive that this was Kent’s directorial debut, one would’ve thought that she’d been doing it for a bit longer than that. I mean, there are little mistakes here and there, but nothing that babatook me out of “The Babadook”.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 98% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 86/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

While I wasn’t blown away by it like a lot of people, I still think “The Babadook” is a good movie. It has a good-ish plot, okay characters, really good performances, good music, and really good directing. As previously mentioned, the inclusion of the supernatural monster angle didn’t fully work for me. Also, while I judge kid performances a bit differently from adult ones, there were enough bad moments from the main kid that it brings it down a little bit more for me. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Babadook” is a 7,87/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it’s definitely worth a rental.

My review of “The Babadook” is now completed.

“Fool of a Babatook” – Gandalf, kind of.

Movie Review: Rudderless (2014)

Grief. Something we all have to deal with at some point in our lives. Whether it’s for something as small as a great TV show ending or something as big as someone you love passing away. There’s no avoiding it, we all experience it at some point. And we all deal with it in different ways.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Rudderless”.

While going through a downward spiral, grieving father Sam (Billy Crudup) finds a box of songs that his son had recorded before his death. So with the help of these songs and a young man named Quentin (Anton Yelchin, R.I.P), Sam starts a band to try perhaps find some catharsis in his life. And from this we a plot that really got to me. While one of the central themes of this movie is grief, it doesn’t have a somber and depressing feel. It moves between the heavier and the lighter moments very well, never lingering too long on one or the other. There are ups and there are downs, just like in real life. And I think that this plot was overall very well handled.

The characters in this movie are interesting, entertaining, and feel very real. Billy Crudup is great as Sam. He’s a very damaged individual who’s starting to maybe find a purpose in life again, and Crudup plays that so fucking well! Anton Yelchin (may he rest in peace) plays the young man that Sam befriends early on in the movie, and he is great in the role. Laurence Fishburne plays the owner of a music store and he is really good in the role. Felicity Huffman plays Sam’s ex-wife, Emily, and she’s great. We also get Selena Gomez popping up at a few points in the movie and she actually did a really good job. All actors were really solid in this movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Eef Barzelay and it was really good. However, while the score he composed (the background music to be more precise) is really good, I want to talk about the music that’s sung/performed in the movie. The songs overall are fucking great! What’s even cooler is that they were actually performed by the cast. When you see Billy Crudup on stage with a microphone and a guitar, he is actually performing it. And you can tell that with every person performing a song in the movie. And it all sounds great. So yeah… this movie has some great fucking music!

This movie was directed by William H. Macy, And for a first time director, he did a really good job. The shots look really good and the scenes in the movie flow really well. Macy really had a lot of energy in his directing. Not energy like when you direct a snappy and cool action movie, but energy as in the movie never grinding to a halt or getting boring. He really did a solid job!

This movie has gotten some slightly mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 62% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 52/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“Rudderless” perfectly balances the line between drama and comedy, making for a pretty great movie. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, fantastic music, and really good directing. Time for my final score. *Sing along*. My final score for “Rudderless” is a 9,67/10. So it of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Rudderless” is now completed.

Billy Crudup can play music and William H. Macy can direct a movie… The world’s full of surprises.