This film “is born of very personal feelings,” reveals writer/director Ari Aster in our exclusive webcam interview (watch the video above) about first feature, the indie horror hit “Hereditary.” “Ultimately, the horror genre is a great filter to pass [through] personal things and out comes something else,” he explains. “For me it was a way of finding the catharsis in an otherwise very bleak story.”
“Hereditary” stars Oscar nominee and Emmy winner Toni Collette, Emmy winner Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff and newcomer Milly Shapiro as a family haunted after the death of their secretive grandmother. It has been acclaimed as one of the best films of the year, with particular acclaim for the cast and Aster as a first-time helmer, who created a deeply disturbing and confronting horror film. After premiering back in June this year, the film has surpassed expectations by grossing over $79 million to be one of the most successful indie hits of the year and distributor A24’s most successful film to date.
“It really poured out of me; it started with a few set pieces,” Aster says about writing the film’s screenplay and developing the look and feel of the film. “There are big moments in the film that stand as significant turning points in the story and those were images that came to me really early on,” he adds. “I wanted to make a film that had an Ouroboros quality, so it is about grief, but a family eating itself in grief… it’s about madness and it’s about people following each other into madness and the film forms this sympathetic attachment to the mother and the son who are both going through PTSD and who are also kind of moving into this unhinged space and the film follows them into that… I talk to a lot of people who walk out of the film and they feel very ambivalent about where the movie went, and I like that. For this film, I like that!
So far this awards season, Aster has garnered a nod for Best First Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards, and nominations at the recent Gotham Awards for Breakthrough Director and the Audience Award. Accolades are also pouring in for leading lady Collette, who so far has won Best Actress at the Gothams (upsetting frontrunner Glenn Close for “The Wife”). She might be withing striking distance of a second career Oscar nomination, 18 years after her first surprise nom for another horror smash “The Sixth Sense.”
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on January 22.