We Need To Talk About THAT Hereditary Moment
Are misleading trailers now a good thing?
Whether you loved it or hated it, A24's Hereditary has quickly become one of the most talked about releases of the year. Dubbed "the scariest film since The Exorcist" (a statement which carries about the same weight as "best British horror since Shaun of the Dead" these days), the film has been controversial, primarily because of the way it blends The Witch-style art-house sensibilities with more mainstream horror influences like The Conjuring.
Whichever side of the fence you fall on though, there is one sequence every viewer seems to agree is one of the best of 2018 so far. Both the movie's trailers and opening act is centred around thirteen-year-old Charlie, whose hobbies include cutting the heads off dead pigeons and making obnoxious clicking noises. The suggestion is that she's going to do something terrible, influenced by the ghost of her dead Grandma and perhaps even be a threat to the rest of her family.
But then she's decapitated in a car accident half an hour in.
To say the moment is unexpected would be an understatement, as not only did everything point towards her either being the primary protagonist or antagonist of the film, but because, well, when was the last time a mainstream movie brutally decapitated a child character and then showed it? The whole sequence, stemming from Charlie suffering an intense allergic reaction at a house party, her stoned brother speeding to the nearest hospital in a panic and her leaning out the car for air before hitting a stump on the side of the road, is genuinely shocking.
It's an immediate confirmation that all bets are off and anything can happen, and easily one of the biggest twists of the decade. What's more interesting though is how the moment proves that movies like this can still surprise. The last time a Psycho-esque killing off of a "main" character early worked was probably Drew Barrymore and the original Scream, but in an age of movie leaks and obvious marketing, there was the worry something that shocking could no longer be kept a secret. Hereditary proves that's not the case.