Hereditary

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Honoring your father and your mother is the first commandment with a promise, reads Paul’s letters to the Ephesians. It has to be, since family can be the most brutal thing that can ever happen to anybody. No dynamic on this earth can better nurture grief, resentment and rage like a family one; tragedy keeps unfolding from one generation to the next, every child inheriting their parents demons.

Hereditary is an uncommonly unsettling picture. It’s monsters are the ones we are familiar with if we’ve been foolish enough to inflict pain on a loved one, or have been on the receiving end. By and large this is a family drama, whose characters carry their resentments on their skin. A broken marriage, a fragile parent-child relationship, an indifferent sibling connection; the film forces the viewer to witness the tragedy of a family in shambles. It is terrifying to behold.

By the time the supernatural elements manifest themselves in full to terrorize the Grahams, one can’t help but wonder if it was always meant to happen. When does a family go wrong? What decisions did the members take at one point that has led everybody down such bleak a path? Or were they condemned from the start, the sins of their forebears too heavy a burden?

When six years ago I made the decision to walk with Christ, one of the realizations I had was that I was becoming my father. I hated the old man, and in my sinful determination to get rid of all the influence he’d had on me, I was turning out to be just like him. I have long since forgiven him, although I continue to struggle with, as this movie would call it, his inheritance. Hereditary made me keenly aware of how grateful I should be that the chains of the past are being broken, and that I will not be suffocated by them.

A

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A Quiet Place

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If Hollywood is to be trusted, planet Earth is the most coveted real estate in the universe. The last decade alone has seen aliens invade it, try to subjugate it or blow it up. This gets tiring after the umpteenth iteration of watching skyscrapers tumble and unnamed pedestrians fleeing for their lives; life ceases to matter, so disposable it has been shown to be.

A Quiet Place is not one of those movies. Like the recent Annihilation, by shrouding the Apocalypse in unknowns it generates the type of interest in the destruction caused by aliens that other flicks like to pretend they do. “It`s Sound!”, reads a newspaper headline. It is a scary and ominous a headline as has ever been printed; one can easily imagine the horror of mankind upon such realization. And then the movie progresses, and one does not even have to imagine it anymore; you feel it.

A-

The Strangers: Prey at Night

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Having had my encounter with Christ after the turbulent teens were behind, I still regret the attitudes, behaviors and general assholishness on display back then. While you could explain part of the rebel in me as rooted in a broken family dynamic, I must also take personal responsibility for my actions. This admission of guilt is tough to find in movies, where everybody is the hero of their own stories. And before you think that I must have walked into the wrong movie since I am talking about teenage angst in a post that should be about killer maniacs, let me assure you that no, I did watch a flick about insane deviants running around hacking people to death.

The main characters are teenagers, and while they are a living embodiment of a cliche, there’s also genuine emotion to them. They’re flawed and scared, but also capable of much good, even if it proves too little too late. That’s something I can definitely relate to.

B

The Devil’s Candy

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The Devil’s Candy is a maniacally disturbing horror movie in which the devil is literally in the details. An art gallery by the name of Belial, a t-shirt that reads “Master of Puppets”, a hostess in a smoking skin tight red dress.
By placing the action in an environment in which the demon seems to have total dominion over, the proceedings feel disturbing as hell up until the very last shot, in which the skies clear, light shines and Satan appears to retreat, at least until next time.

B+

Rosemary’s Baby

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Is God Dead?, Time`s cover reads.
Perhaps it’s not so much that he is dead, as that the devil has never been more alive.
Indeed, throughout 130 minutes we are presented with a scenario so disturbing and full of despair that it feels like every character that appears on screen is another servant of the lord of darkness himself. Without a doubt one of the most depressingly sinister horror films I have ever seen, Rosemary’s Baby is that rare picture that made me want to shut it off halfway, not because it was bad, but because there is absolutely no hope for good to triumph over evil. Like my favorite horror movie, the masterful We Are What We Are, this movie does not rely on jump scares, or even evil entities popping up every other scene. Instead, it creates an atmosphere of intense dread and builds such immense suspense that I wanted to jump out of bed and run far away from my bedroom as possible, until I gathered my thoughts and remembered that whereas satanists use tannis root necklaces to keep them safe, I have God, who thankfully is not dead after all.

A