Hereditary (2018)

It’s been a few days since I watched this. I needed the cool-down period so that I could approach this with the sophistication and slick analytical nature which we are known for. So here goes: WHAT THE COCKING SHIT-FUCK WAS THAT?

I mean, I liked it, I think. I’m still not entirely sure to be honest. I thought it was very, very good, I’m just not sure if I ever want to see it again. It seems to have divided opinion, some people view it as a fantastic film that could lead the way for horror movies, whilst some people view it as a boring mess. Me? I see it as a boring mess, that could lead the way for horror movies.

There is a very good chance you’ll find the opening third incredibly tedious, and you will look at your watch/the person next to you/your own reflection in the shiny surface of something as you contemplate how you’re wasting your life. But like all films; once the small child gets decapitated, it really picks up. But only compared to what was going on before, compared to standard films it is still incredibly slow. Almost two-thirds of the film is basically foreplay, which is always a risky strategy as it means if you flub the actual orgasm then it’s just been a massive waste of everyone’s time. Luckily the cumshot here is really good. The closing section is just insane, in a brilliant way. I feel it could have been a better film if you cut a lot of the opening, but then that also could have hurt it. Part of the brilliance was the way everything was set up, there is SOOOOO much foreshadowing it’s actually genius. So many things you think are inconsequential (even the play being studied in class) actually turn out to be deeply important. After leaving the film you’ll suddenly remember a seemingly throwaway line, and how it actually foreshadowed something important, and you’ll think “fuck, that was brilliant”. And it is. The script is the work of someone who knows exactly what they’re doing. Same with the directing, scares are punctuated with audio cues. What normally happens in a lot of horror films is this: person is sitting in an empty room, suddenly there’s a loud piece of audio, and a face appears behind them. The way this does it; person sitting in an empty room, you suddenly notice there’s a face behind them, and you wonder how long it’s been there. This shows fantastic competence from a first-time director and is a brilliant idea. It forces you to feel you have to pay attention to every single moment. You can’t look away, not even for a second unless you want to risk missing. A lot of the times for films you can be a passive watcher, you’ll be watching the film but you won’t really be fully focused on it, you’ll be thinking of how hungry you are, whether England will win the world cup (Spoilers; yes! But not the football one, the cheese-rolling world cup), or whether that person sitting in front of you will ever SHUT UP and if he doesn’t stop talking you’re going to go down there and twat him with a crowbar. This, you’re very active, you can tell this even in the body language of the people who were watching it whilst I was there; everyone was leaning forward. It’s not just that that makes it seem the work of a seasoned director, the way they cut between scenes is unique, and brilliant, and is sure to lead to many poor directors attempting to imitate it and failing miserably.

This makes the very last scene even more frustrating. The film does a brilliant job throughout of teasing you with the truth, giving you glimpses of why what is happening is happening. Which makes it very puzzling that the final scene is someone explaining exactly what it was about, it would be like if you were watching The Thing and at the end John Carpenter appeared on screen and said “That guy on the left, he’s not human”. It treats the audience with so much respect for most of the film an then thinks we’re idiots who need it explained to us for the final section. I mean, I am an idiot, but still.

That being said, kudos to the film for having the sheer balls to kill what looked like the main character, and so brutally too, I like marketing works like that, when it deliberately deceives you, but not in a way that you feel cheated, but in a way that it means the story beats come as a complete surprise. It’s the way of saying “okay, now all bets are off” and it throws you off, I love it.

So should you see it? Maaaaaybe. There’s another film you should watch first: The Witch. If you hated that, you’d hate this too. But if you liked it, you’d like this too.

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Films I’ve Avoided This Year

So we’ve been a bit quiet for a while. There’s a reason for that. I aimed to review every film I’ve seen at the cinema this year, but I haven’t seen anything in about a month. “woo, see every film!” very quickly changes to “see every film?” around this time of year and I find myself struggling to find the energy to be bothered about the incredibly minimal releases. Films have been released but they’re like Solo, Jurassic World etc. All of them are franchises I haven’t really paid much attention to. Both of those were released close to each other and dominated cinema schedules. So they were out, as were the films I’ve already seen (Deadpool 2, Infinity War), which left me with terrible children’s movies, and I just don’t hate myself quite that much. But there are a few films I’ve missed out for other, more personal reasons. Reasons which are much harder to explain, so here we are.

The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society

One reason, and one reason only. I’m really bored of films based on World War 2 at the moment, I’m suffering from WW2 film fatigue (or blitztigue). They’re not ugly enough. Period films are shot with an eye towards the beauty of elegance, which seems kind of inappropriate for a period of time where millions were massacred, particularly considering there are people today who support the people who did it (some people call them neo-nazi’s, I just call them pricks). I’m not saying there’s no beauty in ugliness, but I’m bored of every war film lately looking the same and attempting to create an air of nostalgia and warmth.

I Feel Pretty

I want to like Amy Schumer. I really do, she’s funny, and likeable, and with the right script is incredibly funny. But she’s also an alleged plagiarist, and when she’s in a bad film, it’s almost embarrassing, especially in a film where 80% of the jokes are “this person is above the average Hollywood weight, hahahahahahaha” (very much like Melissa McCarthy). But that didn’t have too much to do with me avoiding this film. I avoided it because the very concept annoys me. The whole “you just need self belief, then you’ll be pretty because you’ll have confidence” just seems a bit weird coming from an able-bodied blonde white woman with great complexion, she fulfils most of the definitions of classicly attractive by western standards. As someone who is genuinely ugly, with a bad face, it annoys the hell out of me that people say “you just need to believe in yourself”, as if being attractive to me isn’t as unobtainable as going to space on my BMX.

Show Dogs

I probably wasn’t going to see this anyway because, well, it looked kind of shit. But then I saw something else which confirmed my suspicions. It’s a typical kids movie about a talking dog that solves crime. To solve one he has to go undercover in a dog show, which requires having his genitals touched. So his human partner has to get him used to getting them touched, by training him to not react to people randomly grabbing his junk. Teaching him how to escape into your head whilst it happens. That’s……that’s grooming. It’s legitimately how child predators do it, a gymnastics coach who abused his students for years did it, telling them that he needed to do it to train them. It’s just kind of uncomfortable and weird. As Ruth Graham wrote for slate.com:

“The movie’s solution to Max’s discomfort with the inspection is not to empower him to escape it somehow; it’s to have him learn to check out mentally while he endures it, and to make no outward sign of his humiliation. It is not paranoid to say that this is a bad message for kids.”

I mean, yeah it got edited out after the first week or so, but it shouldn’t have been there in the first place. It’s like if McDonalds said “Our Chicken Nuggets no longer contain arsenic” and expecting me to still eat them. Now I know “it’s just movie”, but it’s a kids movie. And that’s where people get morals from, as it’s used as indicator for society as a whole to children. It’s where they get their ideas from about how the wider world works. You don’t think that’s true? Okay, what do you think would happen if in every single kids film from now on, there was a character called “Chris” who constantly shit his pants? Do you think when a child meets someone called Chris, they’re NOT going to bully him about shitting his pants, despite the fact he actually hasn’t, because that’s what movies have taught him they do?

Book Club

Because my watching this film could be seen as an indicator that I don’t despise Fifty Shades, and I can’t risk that.

So yeah that’s that. There are more I avoided but mainly for boring reasons, primarily a lot of “wooo, America and guns are awesome” films I’ve avoided like healthy food at a house party. Luckily there’s Hereditary released today, and I’m really looking forward to that as it looks unsettling as hell.