Hereditary: In Appreciation of “D+” Films


Tina Kortbaoui, Writer

Director Ari Aster is one of an extremely thorough and accurate researcher, yet his finding are extremely questionable. His newest film, Hereditary, left audiences amazed, pensive, and outright terrified. In this horror movie, Ari Aster combines years of research and elaborate planning to develop an accurate and horrifying film, without the use of conventional scare tactics.

Without the use of jump scares, upside down crosses, and usual demonic possession, Aster introduces entirely new concepts to the audience, and the viewer’s lack of knowledge could be the most terrifying part. I turned off the movie and sat in my pitch black room contemplating what just infiltrated my thoughts and left goosebumps along my skin. After I watch cryptic movies, those with endings I can barely even comprehend, I usually google their meanings and explanation. I whip out my phone and quickly search the meaning of Hereditary’s chilling ending. What I find is an extremely impressive amount of research which Aster had done in the years prior to its production, and the amazing meaning to the film’s final minutes.

While its thorough research impressed me, the strong urge to call my family and convey my love for each of them weighed on my mind heavily. The gruesome deaths within this movie were extremely uncalled for, yet they were all purposeful. I am usually unfazed by jump scares, and the spike in my heart rate lasts about 5 seconds. The unsettling nature of each scene left my skin crawling for at least the last half hour of the film, and my urge to shut my eyes, yet pay attention to the interesting story line was an extremely difficult conflict.

According to, Hereditary received a score of a D+, and this does not accurately reflect my overwhelming feeling of awe at this film’s production. This score is evaluated through the survey of audiences who went to the film’s opening night in theaters. These viewers were mostly horror movie fanatics, and their expectations for this film were extremely high, based on how the audience at Sundance Festival received the film. These people were expecting to be put into a comatose state due to pure fear, but since they were left with a more uneasy and questioning feeling, this can explain the poor film grade.