Hereditary Director Says His Goal Is To Upset Audiences On A Very Deep Level

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Championed as the must-see horror film of the year (and for good reason), Ari Aster’s generation-spanning thriller Hereditary is an exercise in nerve-shredding tension, one which follows a family still reeling from the death of their matriarch.

At the center of the supernatural storm is Annie Graham (Toni Collette), who starts to suspect that there’s something wrong with her teenage daughter, Charlie (Milly Shapiro), following her grandmother’s death. It’s a relatively simple premise in the grand scheme of things, but looks can be deceiving, and so too is Milly Shapiro’s glowering teen.

Now, on the eve of its release, we’re beginning to see why Hereditary has been branded as one of the scariest horror movies in months – if not years – and if you’re still finding it hard to get hyped, perhaps some recent comments from Aster will do the trick. Speaking in a recent interview, he admitted that the pic’s aim is to upset you on a very deep level.

“I always knew I was making a very potentially alienating film,” Aster told Bloody-Disgusting. “The film’s primary aim has always been to upset audiences on a very deep level. So if anything, I’ve been very surprised but a part of me is anxious to see how widely the film has been embraced so far. Knock on wood, it hasn’t been released yet.”

Continuing on, he downplayed all those comparisons to The Exorcist, saying that he hopes people walk in with reasonable expectations.

“The film ultimately is not an update on The Exorcist. I feel I’ve already heard people who walked out of the film saying, ‘That’s nothing like The Exorcist’ and I never said it was. It’s wonderful to have so many people receiving the film so enthusiastically. The problem with any hyperbole is that people come in with expectations that are maybe impossible to meet. I just hope that people come in with reasonable expectations and that they watch the film for what it is.

Also starring Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Ann Dowd and the aforementioned Shapiro in what looks to be her big breakout, Hereditary is described as so:

When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited. Making his feature debut, writer-director Ari Aster unleashes a nightmare vision of a domestic breakdown that exhibits the craft and precision of a nascent auteur, transforming a familial tragedy into something ominous and deeply disquieting, and pushing the horror movie into chilling new terrain with its shattering portrait of heritage gone to hell.

Hereditary comes knocking tomorrow, June 8th, so batten down the hatches and prepare for a truly terrifying watch. This is A24 we’re talking about, after all, so we’re quietly confident that the studio has conjured up another genre hit for us to sink our teeth into.

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