HE nemesis Nick Schager, who declared last October that Bong Joon-ho‘s Okja was 2017’s third best film and James Gray‘s The Lost City of Z the fifth best (outrageous opinions), has posted a lowbrow assessment of Ari Aster‘s Hereditary — i.e., not wild or crazy or gorey enough. Something tells me that mainstream (i.e., grunt-level) horror fans will be saying the same thing when it opens, following in the path of The Verge’s Tasha Robinson.
Schager: “As a lifelong horror junkie, I readily confess that my own calloused constitution for the grisly and the macabre is greater than most, sometimes to a fault. Still, no matter that nor the rapturous praise that’s preceded its premiere, Aster’s maiden feature employs meticulous design and lots of screaming to drum up only so-so suspense, convinced that creeping pans through constricting architecture and random suggestions of paranormal activity will put one on edge—or, at least, keep one engaged until the final five minutes, when all hell breaks loose. By the time that mayhem arrives, however, you’ll be forgiven for having lost interest in this patchwork-quilt concoction of ghoulish cliches and Toni Collette freak-outs.”
HE review, posted on 5.22.18: “Either you get what serious, classy, smarthouse horror films are up to, or you don’t. Either you understand that when a certain scare switch is flipped by way of hint, suggestion or implication (such as that little-ping moment in Rosemary’s Baby when Mia Farrow reads the journal of a recently-deceased victim of Roman and Minnie Castevet and comes upon the phrase “I can no longer associate myself…”), it connects with convulsive, deep-rooted terrors that are far more disturbing than anything you might find in It.
“Not to paint with too wide a brush, but horror-genre fans tend to be on the coarse and geekish side in terms of their preferences. They’re basically about a general opposition to subtlety or understatement of any kind. Which is not to imply that Hereditary errs on the side of understatement. It certainly doesn’t during the second half. But the first half is almost a kind of masterclass in how to deliver on-target chills and jolts through fleeting suggestion rather than the usual sledgehammer approach.”