Soon after the death of her mother, Annie (Toni Collette – xXx: Return of Xander Cage) and her family, husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne), son Peter (Alex Wolff – Patriot’s Day), and daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro) are beset by some haunting occurrences, and as the story unfolds, many dark secrets are revealed amidst some very tragic events.
Hereditary is a horror, with loads of drama. A film with an engrossing story, and yet one knows that something, very soon, is going to change and scare you. As the story unfolds, the viewer is left trying to piece together events before the characters do, and encouraged by the film, this leaves one’s imagination to start running wild, meaning the film doesn’t rely on the usual cheap jump-scares, but instead allows the viewer to scare themself, and just at the right time, it adds to this with a sound, or a visual, that chills one to the bone.
With an expertly devised soundscape for the film, the viewer is lead by sounds, but also totally encompassed in the environment, with the sounds one would expect from nature, a house, and a town. Not to be outdone, the visuals are just as immersive, with the camera angles and scene transitions not quite what one would expect, serving yet again, to suck the viewer right into the story, put them in the midst of whatever danger might be lurking, and make them feel a part of events.
Hereditary is one of those rare horror films that is driven by drama, accompanied by talent, and with a great story. It will leave one thinking, guessing, and debating what was and might have been, for days after, and it is this that would add an amount of rewatch value to the disc.
A great horror, and a must see film.
Overall, the disc is of a good technical quality, with a slightly higher than usual video bitrate. There is no bonus material on the disc, but the main feature is one that will thrill and scare many a viewer. A great film.
Hereditary is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.
Video is encoded at a high average bitrate, with no visible artefacts on-screen. There is no visible colour bleed. Details in the several darker scenes is good, as is detail in some of the faster moving scenes. The video encoding, on average, is above what one would usually find on a DVD, and would be welcomed by those with larger screens.
Viewers with the relevant hardware or software can scale up to a larger or higher resolution screen, should they wish.
Audio is encoded at a high average bitrate, with dialogue clear via the centre channel. Use of the surround channels serves to expand the on-screen action, totally drawing the viewer into some of the more tense scenes, and adding to the feelings evoked by the film. Great use of sound design (and at times, lack of sound) are used to a great degree.
Great use is made of the LFE channel, to enhance a the feeling of foreboding and dread brought on by the story.
Navigation is simple, and easy to follow. The main menu has text links to the various sub-menus, namely a link to play the movie, scene selection, and setup. There is a motion background, with video from the main feature, and accompanying music.
The Scene selection sub-menus each have ten small, desaturated colour thumbnails, for a total of twenty chapters. While these are numbered, they are not labelled, nor is there any chapter listing including in the packaging, meaning that navigation to a part of the film would likely include some guesswork. Viewers would be better off using the bookmarking functions of their respective hardware or software.
The setup sub-menu has just two text links, allowing the viewer to choose between Dolby Surround and Dolby Stereo.
There are no bonus features on the disc, not even trailers that autoplay at the beginning of the disc.
Packaging is standard, with a title on the front, with poster. The back of the packaging includes a short synopsis, along with some small stills from the film. There is also the usual technical information and logos. There are no package inserts, such as chapter listing, etc.