Toni Collette (Krampus)
Alex Wolff (Jumanji: The Next Level)
Milly Shapiro (Splitting Up Together)
Mallory Bechtel (FBI: Most Wanted)
Ann Dowd (Compliance)
Gabriel Byrne (End of Days)
Annie Graham is a miniature artist who lives in Utah with her husband, Steve; their 16-year-old son, Peter; and eccentric 13-year-old daughter, Charlie. At the funeral of her secretive mother, Ellen Leigh, Annie delivers a eulogy explaining their fraught relationship. Steve is later informed that Ellen’s grave has been desecrated. Annie attends a support group for the bereaved and reveals that her family suffered from mental illnesses that resulted in their deaths.To attend a party, Peter lies that he is going to a barbecue with friends, and Annie forces him to take Charlie with him. While there, an unsupervised Charlie eats cake containing nuts, to which she is allergic, and she falls into anaphylactic shock. As Peter drives her to a hospital, she leans out of the window for air and is decapitated by a telephone pole as Peter swerves to avoid roadkill. In shock, Peter goes to bed on arriving home, leaves his sister’s headless corpse in the car for their mother to discover the next morning. The family grieves and tension rises between them all, leading to Annie viciously berating Peter one night at dinner for his actions. As he deals with the tremendous guilt, Peter is subsequently haunted by Charlie’s presence around the house.Annie is befriended by a support group member, Joan. Influenced by Joan, Annie forces the family to do a séance to communicate with Charlie. Charlie seemingly possesses Annie until Steve douses her with water. Suspecting that Charlie’s spirit has become malevolent, Annie throws Charlie’s sketchbook into the fireplace but her sleeve also begins to burn. She quickly retrieves the book and heads to Joan for advice but Joan is missing. She notices that Joan’s welcome mat resembles her mother’s craftwork and goes through her mother’s possessions, finding a photo album linking Joan to Ellen, and a book with information about a demon named Paimon who is a king of Hell and wishes to inhabit a male host.She also discovers photos of Ellen with cult members who apparently worship her as their leader. In the attic, she discovers Ellen’s decapitated and rotting body and a strange symbol on the wall written in blood. At school, Peter sees a disturbing apparition of himself and slams his head against his desk, breaking his nose. Annie begs Steve to burn the sketchbook so she can sacrifice herself and stop the haunting. Steve sees Ellen’s body but assumes Annie has gone mad. When Annie throws the book into the fire herself, Steve bursts into flames and dies.Peter awakens to find his father’s charred body, and encounters a nude man. He is then chased by a now-possessed Annie into the attic. Levitating, Annie beheads herself with piano wire as naked coven members and a shocked Peter look on. Terrified, Peter jumps out of the window to his death. A light enters his body, and he stands, following Annie’s levitating corpse into Charlie’s tree house. There, Peter sees Charlie’s severed head with a crown. Joan, other coven members, and the headless corpses of his mother and grandmother bow to him. Joan puts the crown on Peter’s head, explaining that Charlie had originally been the host of Paimon since her birth—which was Ellen’s doing—but they have now corrected their mistake: Paimon has been given the desired male host. The cult members pledge their lives to Paimon, allowing him to rule over them.Hereditary doesn’t redefine horror. It puts a wicked stamp of its own on the tropes of the genre. The film is a tremendous success, and a truly impressive feature-debut from Ari Aster. Horror doesn’t get any better than this.