Spoiler alert: Major plot points for Hereditary—including the ending—will be revealed below.
Ari Aster’s Hereditary is, as we’ve written, a horror flick for the ages. Eerie, uncanny, and deeply emotional, the film is a brutal descent into a irrevocably poisoned bloodline. What’s especially wonderful about it is that it manages to both have its cake and eat it, too. While most horror movies draw a line between mental illness and horror, too many make it abundantly clear that the terror is nothing more than a manifestation of that illness and, thus, the monsters are not “real” (lookin’ at you, Babadook). In Hereditary, the demonic rituals and possessions are every bit as real as the clear sicknesses infesting the myriad characters. It doesn’t have to be one or the other, and that’s wonderful.
All of the above is articulated beautifully in a new video essay from ScreenCrush. In it, the narrator first guides us through the meaning of all the creepy stuff—the ants, the pigeon, the occult words and symbols—before delving into how Annie’s (Toni Collette) dissociative identify disorder is illustrated throughout the film. In looking at the movie this way, it’s easy to see how the themes of hereditary illness and demonic possession dovetail in a way that wraps two unique arms around poor, poor Peter (Alex Wolff).
Watch the full video essay above.