After loving Hereditary during last January’s Sundance Film Festival, Variety ‘s Owen Gleiberman caught it a second time this weekend after hearing that low-rent horror fans were sneering and laughing and give it a shitty CinemaScore grade. Here’s his report:
“Why are there so many people turning on Hereditary who would be all too happy to sit through the limb-severing, soundtrack-gonging, ghost-face-in-the-mirror megaplex horror implement of the week? The reason they’re turning on it, of course, is that it’s not the horror implement of the week.”
Once again, he concluded, we’re witnessing “a nearly epistemological divide in the moviegoing audience, a kind of blue state/red state schism.
“Horror films now require a kinesthetic element of funhouse sensation to engage a wide audience. A Quiet Place is a good example. True to its title, it’s a quiet and subtle movie — except for when it’s not, when aliens with jaws the size of bulldozer shovels are tearing away at anything that dares to make a sound.
“These days, the horror films that become mainstream hits tend to be so sensational, even debased, that they’re like ritualized celebrations of our inhumanity. At slasher movies, people view the killers as rock stars of mayhem; at paranormal thrillers, ghosts go bump, crash, and boom in the night; at torture porn, the torture is the star — the ‘characters’ are just fresh meat. And almost any tale of the supernatural turns into a relentless carnival of Jack-in-the-box devils.”