‘Hereditary’ receives frightfully good reviews

Toni Collette stars in “Hereditary”. (Reuters pic)

LOS ANGELES: In a movie where everything goes wrong for a family, “Hereditary” is doing everything right, with film critics hailing it as a modern masterpiece in the horror genre.

Opening in US movie theatres on Friday, “Hereditary” stars Australian actress Toni Collette as the daughter of a woman whose death unravels terrifying secrets about their family ancestry.

The movie has won a rare 100% approval on review aggregate website Rottentomatoes.com, and Collette’s performance is winning early awards buzz, with Variety calling it “staggering.”

“You yearn for something original and for some bold voice to come pounding through,” Collette said of the part.

The script, by writer and first time director Ari Aster, “was confounding because ultimately it just seemed to be this raw, natural, honest story about grief and an inability to navigate it and how it changes the dynamics within this family,” she said.

Collette’s character, Annie Graham, appears at first to be a strong-willed mother looking after her family, but she becomes overwhelmed and unravels as the story progresses.

“There are so many expectations and idealisations about what motherhood is and my character is contrary to all of those. I do really like that because it isn’t always so enjoyable for a lot of women,” said Collette.

Time Out described “Hereditary” as a “new generation’s ‘The Exorcist,’” while the Hollywood Reporter said the film’s malevolent premise turns into “a seemingly endless series of unexpected directions over two breathless hours of escalating terror that never slackens for a minute.”

“I’ve made so many films that don’t find their audience for whatever reason, and it’s kind of a miracle that any film gets made, let alone embraced,” said Collette, previously best known for the comedy, “Little Miss Sunshine”.

“There seems to be a real palpable energy and interest about this one, which is great.”