Ari Aster’s feature directorial debut, “Hereditary”, is a 2018 American supernatural horror-thriller film. Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, and Gabriel Byrne star as a family plagued by a mysterious presence after their secretive grandmother’s death. Certainly, when the Graham family matriarch dies, her daughter and grandchildren begin to piece together mysterious and increasingly frightening secrets about their ancestors in an attempt to avoid inheriting a sinister fate.
The script is based on a true story from 2004 in Marietta, Georgia. John Kemper Hutcherson decapitated his childhood friend and passenger, Frankie Brohm, on a telephone pole after the latter had leaned his head out the window to alleviate his inebriation symptoms.
With Brohm’s headless body in the vehicle, Hutcherson then returned home. Subsequently, he fell asleep until the next morning. However, a passerby walking with his toddler found Brohm’s body still in the truck and alerted authorities.
Hereditary: Development and shooting?
The film started filming in Utah in February 2017. The Graham family home and treehouse exteriors were shot in Summit County, Utah. Other than that, the cemetery scene was shot at Larkin Sunset Gardens in Sandy, Utah.
Aster initially pitched Hereditary as a family tragedy, cautious not to term it a horror film outright. Later, a fan of domestic dramas, Aster integrated elements of the genre into his script. Certainly, he envisioned a film rooted in family dynamics, tragedy, and grief. Above all, Aster specified Carrie and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover as his influencers for Hereditary.
When was Hereditary released?
On January 21, 2018, Hereditary had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. Later, on January 30, 2018, the film’s trailer was announced. In a cinema in Innaloo, Western Australia, the trailer for Hereditary was shown before the PG-rated family film Peter Rabbit on Anzac Day 2018. Moreover, according to a story in The Sydney Morning Herald, the Hereditary preview was mistakenly shown to family audiences. As a result, it caused a slight panic in the theater. There were “at least 40 children” in the theater, according to reports.
After that, A24 released the film in the United States on June 8, 2018. On June 15, 2018, Entertainment Film Distributors released it in the United Kingdom.
How was the response?
Critics praised Aster’s direction and script and Stetson’s musical score. Also, the movie’s claustrophobic themes, and Collette’s performance in the film were highly appreciated. Certainly, it was a commercial success. It grossed more than $80 million worldwide on a $10 million budget, making it A24’s highest-grossing film.