‘Hereditary’ Is An “Elevated Horror” Film That Will Leave You Unsettled

Photo from A24

It’s the latest truly terrifying example of the genre

When A Quiet Place hit theaters in April, there was renewed debate about the idea of “elevated horror”—horror movies that are as well-crafted and meaningful as, say, a well-wrought family drama, which of course A Quiet Place also was. As with dubious terminology like “vulgar auteurism,” the unattributed idea of “elevated horror” doesn’t make much sense unless you believe that the unmodified term (that is, “horror”) somehow doesn’t include, well, the things that it naturally includes. With the release of the well-crafted Hereditary this week, coming from the same indie distributor that put out The Witch, The Blackcoat's Daughter, and It Comes at Night, maybe a better moniker for "elevated horror" would be “A24 horror.”

A24, which often specializes in slower rollouts (like Lady Bird or Moonlight) or releases that never go especially wide (like First Reformed or The Lobster), sometimes puts out a genre film wide right away, as it’s doing with Hereditary, to capitalize on buzz among both cinephiles and genre fans. Inevitably, this leads to some bafflement or irritation among horror audiences who don’t always realize that they’re buying a ticket for something that may be creepy, unsettling, or downright terrifying, but can also be slow-moving or a bit more elliptical than multiplex horror pictures. It’s hard for me to picture anyone watching Ari Aster’s Hereditary and not feel affected by it, whether emotionally or just plain viscerally, but it will almost certainly elicit some opening-night boos, too.

Part of the fun, if “fun” is even the right word for such an upsetting movie, comes from the uncertainty over what kind of horror show this is, exactly (for once, the trailers don’t work overtime to give things away). It begins with Annie (Toni Collette) mourning the death of her mother; we eventually learn from her attempt at sharing with a grief support group that they had an uneven, often-fraught relationship (and it’s more than hinted at when her eulogy includes a description of her mom as “secretive and private”). Annie’s husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne) and son Peter (Alex Wolff) seem relatively unaffected by the loss, but her younger daughter Charlie takes it harder.

As played by the remarkable young stage actor Milly Shapiro, Charlie is the awkward tween stage personified; though she’s 13, her face looks more youthful, and often stricken, as she methodically eats chocolate bars and fails to make eye contact. Her refrain is a mumbled “that’s okay,” used as a nonconfrontational no-thank-you for all manner of social engagement. We don’t see her connecting with her grandmother, but the movie creates the sense that it must have been a formidable, perhaps sinister bond.

How Hereditary proceeds from this point is difficult to describe. Some terrible things happen. Some of them are bad dreams; some are even anecdotes. Some are depicted on screen in terrible, disturbing detail. Annie’s family frays further, but not necessarily for the reasons one might assume from the first few scenes—at least not right away. Aster, in his first feature, has a lot of patience (maybe, in a few scenes, too much). The movie’s long first shot pans around a room of miniature houses (Annie is a miniaturist artist) before zooming into a recreation of a bedroom, which seamlessly becomes the life-sized version. Early on, Aster shoots rooms of the family home, where much of the action takes place, wide enough to capture the ceilings, making them look more like one of Annie’s pieces, a subtly unnerving effect. A few key scenes play out with crucial sounds coming from the other side of a wall, muffled but terribly easy to understand. Against this formal control, he juxtaposes emotional rawness, a cocktail of grief, guilt, fear, repression, and dread that’s squirmy and tricky to pin down. This is a movie that twists the knife, and then stabs you with another knife hidden behind its back.

Moment to moment, Hereditary is extremely effective and impressively well-made. But it lacks a singularity of purpose, even as Collette, Wolff, and Shapiro give the material their all. Though its setting and characters and even style of scares are drastically different, the movie is reminiscent of its A24 stablemate The Witch: They’re both slow-burning, family-centric horror stories that coil and strike, mingling supernatural horror with more everyday, naturalistic nightmares of family members that don’t understand each other. After a certain point, The Witch proceeds with a certain eerie inevitability, and it feels strange to admit that Hereditary’s comparable unpredictability eventually gets the better of it; at times, it feels almost rambling (but scary rambling, like an old crone speaking in tongues). The movie runs over two hours, yet it feels less immersive than The Witch or It Follows; the worlds of those films were strange, to be sure, but their intersections with and departures from the “real” world made them fascinating. Hereditary is more slippery; maybe by design, or maybe because Aster doesn’t know when to quit. It seems like there’s some resonance underneath the terror, perhaps a sense of horror at the way familial traits or preoccupations can double back and continue to haunt those bonded by blood long after death. But I confess I found it difficult to parse. In that way, it feels like the ultimate A24 horror movie so far: It’s brilliantly scary and left me preferring the more multiplex-friendly Quiet Place.

Photo by Imani Givertz

Premiering today via NYLON

Small Talks, aka Cayley Spivey, has come a long way since starting a band, then becoming the entire band herself and forging her own fan base from the ground up. On her recent album A Conversation Between Us, she began to unpack any lingering baggage with one particular song: "Teeth." Today, she premieres the accompanying music video exclusively via NYLON.

"'Teeth' is about my personal battle with letting go of the past," Spivey tells NYLON, admitting that it's easily her favorite song off of A Conversation Between Us.

Watch the video for "Teeth" below.

Small Talks - Teeth (Official Music Video) - YouTube

Photos by Joe Maher/Getty Images, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for TIME

Must have been pretty awkward

Taylor Swift and Sophie Turner were guests on the U.K.'s The Graham Norton Show together, which must have been awkward for Turner's husband, Joe Jonas, seeing as he also happens to be Swift's ex. I wonder if his name came up?

The interview doesn't come out until Friday night, but promotional photos show the two sharing a couch. Swift is making an appearance to perform her new single, "ME!" while Turner is promoting her new film, X- Men: Dark Phoenix. But it seems necessary for the two to be asked about Jonas.

Swift was just on the Ellen DeGeneres Show earlier this month, where she brought up the fact that she felt bad for putting Jonas "on blast" on DeGeneres' show back in 2008 by telling the audience that he broke up with her in a record-setting short phone call. But, according to Swift, she and Jonas are chill now, since it happened pretty long ago, which means she's probably already hung out with Turner and maybe even gossiped about him with her.

We can only hope that they get the chance to spill some tea on television.

Screenshot via YouTube, Photo Courtesy of HBO

"That's! His! Auntie!"

Leslie Jones has rewatched the Game of Thrones finale with a beer in hand, Seth Meyers at her side, and a full camera crew ready to take in all her glorious reactions. Spoilers ahead, but, if you haven't watched last week's episode already, that's kind of on you at this point.

When Jon Snow started to make out with Daenerys, also known as his aunt, only to stab her through the chest moments later, it was emotional whiplash for everyone watching. And, Jones' reactions—both from her first and second viewing—sum it all perfectly.

"That's! His! Auntie! [gagging noises]," Jones says before making an aside about calling the police if her uncle ever tried to do the same. But then the knife goes in, and Jones screams. "Did you see that?!" Jones asks, "Yeah bitch, that's a knife in you." Meyers points out the funniest part of all: "Why are you so upset about someone kissing their aunt but totally fine with someone killing their aunt?" Jones replies, "Because that bitch needed to go," and, well, same.

Other highlights from the comedians' rewatch include comparing Dany's victory speech to a bad improv gig, predicting that their dogs would have less of a reaction to their deaths than Drogon did to his mother's, and more.

Watch all of Jones' reactions from this Late Night clip below.

Game of Jones: Leslie Jones and Seth Watch Game of Thrones' Series Finale

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These lyrics are a lot

Robbie Tripp, aka Curvy Wife Guy, is back with a music video, titled "Chubby Sexy," starring his wife and a trio of models. In it, Tripp raps about his bold choice to find women with an average body size attractive.

The video begins with a series of statements laid over some pool water: "Curves are the new high fashion," "Chubby is the new sexy," "We Out Here." Tripp posits that these queens deserve an anthem, which they do. What they do not deserve is this Cursed Song. As he lists all the names he knows to call them by (thick, thicc, and BBW), one model (who I really, really hope was paid well) squirts some lotion down her cleavage, and Tripp begins dancing.

"My girl chubby sexy/ Call her bonita gordita," Tripp states in his chorus, before going on to compare "big booty meat" to the peach emoji. Another thing he mentions is that his wife can't find a belt that fits her waist, and that's why he calls her James and the Giant Peach. He then tries to dab. Here are some of the other Cursed highlights from his, uh, verses:

Got those Khaleesi curves/ Knows how to dragon slay
She like a dude that's woke/ We like a girl that's weighty
Some say a chubby girl that's risky/ But they ain't met a curvy girl that's frisky
Imma dunk that donk like I'm Andrew Wiggins.
Thick like an Amazon/ Built like Big Ben.

Tripp says one thing in the video that I couldn't agree more with: "She don't need a man." No, she does not. Please run. If you must, watch the entire video, below. Or send it to your nemesis!

Robbie Tripp - Chubby Sexy (Official Music Video)

Photo by Emma McIntyre / Getty Images.

See the promo here

It was bound to happen. The Kadashians and Jenners have committed themselves to letting the cameras roll on their lives, for better or for worse. So if you thought that the Jordyn Woods and Tristan Thompson cheating scandal was off limits, you thought wrong. The trailer for Sunday's episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians was just released, and it involves the famous family working through the fallout of what happened when Woods went to a party at Thompson's house.

The teaser includes the infamous clip of Khloé Kardashian screaming "LIAAAARRRRRR." It's still not explicitly clear who prompted that strong response. She could be responding to Thompson, who clearly isn't always honest. Or she could be reacting to Woods account of the events on Red Table Talk. But the most revealing moment comes when we see Kylie Jenner—who was Woods' best friend before all of this happened—react for the first time.

In a heart-to-heart conversation, momager Kris Jenner says, "For you and Jordyn, it's like a divorce." Kylie only offers this in response: "She fucked up." Based on Woods' version of events—which I'm inclined to believeThompson is the one who fucked up. Still, I'm hoping for some kind of reconciliation between the two longtime friends. Perhaps we'll have to wait until next season for that.

Check out the promo video below.