I count myself lucky that my family isn’t too crazy. Sure, we have members like “the one who’s always drunk,” but things could definitely be worse. Like, oh, for example, my mother didn’t have dissociative identity disorder and then died in hospice care, my father didn’t die from self-inflicted starvation, and my (nonexistent) brother didn’t suffer from schizophrenia before hanging himself! Oh, and I also don’t have a tense relationship with my (also nonexistent) children because one time I almost burned them alive while sleepwalking. Man, wouldn’t it suck to have that kind of baggage!
Turns out it sucks to be Annie (Mrs. Toni Collette), because all that baggage is her life. After her estranged mother dies, any hopes of her family going back to normal are shattered when… well, weird stuff starts pretty early, but something major happens before the halfway point and it’s BAD. Props to the trailers for not revealing it. It becomes clear to us that there’s some kind of cult working around her and her family, and that they have an interest in her daughter, Charlie (Milly Shapiro). Life also sucks for her son, Peter (Alex Wolff) and her nothingburger of a husband, Steve. Not going to reveal too much because this movie is a must watch and one of the best horror movies of the last decade. Honestly, it’s a crime that Toni Collette was snubbed by the major award shows because The Powers That Be clearly think horror movies are beneath them (Get Out being a recent exception, but also mentioning The Sixth Sense since that was Collette’s only Oscar nomination). She plays a woman breaking down mentally and emotionally as her family starts to dissolve around her, and she does it terrifyingly well.
I will have some minor spoilers as I point out things I didn’t notice on the first watching. Turns out that Paimon’s picture has a lot of symbolism! He’s holding a staff with a hand in a strange position, which shows up when someone has an… episode at school. Paimon also has three severed heads at his side, which is also reflected in his symbol and… elsewhere. And one thing I had to have pointed out to me is that when Peter is smoking pot under the bleachers, his friend on the far left has a distinctive man-bun which means he’s easier to spot when he appears… later. Was that vague enough?
A little before I started this blog, my husband and I watched Aster’s second movie, Midsommar. If you haven’t heard, it’s about some kids unknowingly in the clutches of a dangerous, Nordic cult. You know something bad is going to happen to them from the beginning, so the tension builds and builds as you wait for the trap to slam shut on them. While I enjoyed it, my husband wasn’t a fan; he felt that knowing they were clearly going to suffer so early kind of ruined the experience for him. I then made it my goal to one day show him writer/director Mr. Ari Aster’s previous film (Hereditary for those keeping score). Sure enough, he enjoyed it more! I agree with him, at least in saying that Hereditary is better than Midsommar; but I think both movies are amazing.
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