Hereditary (2018) is Ari Aster's debut film. The story begins with a still-pic of an obituary of an old woman. Annie, the old woman's daughter played by Toni Colette, gives a less-than-adoring speech in the first scene of her mother's funeral. Immediately, the movie reveals tension, animosity, and secrets within family. Annie, her devoted husband, pothead son, and oddball daughter return back to their home and discover the mother's dark past.
The setting of this movie is in a mountainous part of Utah with lots of pine trees and beautiful, rustic homes without close neighbors. Annie is an artist who lives in one of those beautiful homes and uses it for inspiration by making dollhouses and minitature dolls of her family. Her art reminds me of the miniature dollhouse room exhibits at the Chicago Art Museum. The dollhouse artist job is really a metaphor for Annie who is only a doll with someone else manipulating her life.
Annie's son Peter is somewhat forced to take his weird, younger sister to a party. He blows her off to get high with friends. She eats something with peanuts and has an allergic reaction. As Peter rushes her to the hospital, she opens the window to get fresh air, and then he swerves accidentally into a telephone pole, decapitating her like she decapitated a bird in an earlier scene. There is a third headless body scene at the end of the movie in the attic.
One of the women in Annie's grief support group talks her into contacting her dead daughter through a seance. This woman and the seance are fakes. Annie later learns that this so-called friend is really a cult member who knew Annie's mother. She intends to finish what the old woman started by getting Paimon, a demon, a vessel/body from Annie's family so that he can live in human form. Annie's son is that vessel. In the end, evil wins.
My review: This is one of those GREAT horror movies that belongs in the same class as Rosemary's Baby, The Omen, The Exorcist, and Devil's Advocate. Aster scared the crap out of me in so many scenes. His kind of horror is a psychological kind with a great story that is very real to those who believe in spiritual good and evil. Aster is the master at subtlety, madness, and surprise. Midsommar is supposed to be even better. I will definitely check into that movie. Easy 5 star rating.
Paimon: A djini spirt pre-dating Christianity originating from the Arabic culture. The djinn are 72 spirits. Some say they are 72 pathologies of the demented mind. Paimon is mentioned in Mesopatamian culture as a goddess. He is also one of Satan's generals who rules 200+ legions of angels. A legion is 5K-6K men. Paimon is the 9th spirit in Aleister Crowley's The Goetia. Paimon is known for teaching arts and sciences to humans.
Decapitation-Symbolic for taking away one's ego.
Sigil of Paimon-Aster slightly deviated from the original, but it's very similar.
Drawings of Charlie the Spirit-Peter's eyes are X'd out. Eyes = windows of the soul.
Shameless Plug: If you are looking for books that have to do with spiritual war of God and the fallen angels, please check into some of Dina Rae's works.