By Angie Raphael

4 stars

The less you know about the plot of Hereditary before you see the film, the better. It is confronting, heartbreaking, shocking and ultimately traumatic viewing, but so very satisfying for horror fans. Hereditary is not necessarily a typical supernatural-heavy film, but it has some very spooky elements. Writer and director Ari Aster makes his feature film debut and he certainly leaves a strong impression. The story centres on the Graham family, who are dealing with the death of their matriarch, and it soon becomes clear there are some alarming secrets about their ancestry. Toni Collette deserves an Oscar nomination for her performance as Annie. She is a phenomenal actress and is given ample opportunity to explore her complex character in great detail, including Annie's heartache, guilt and desperation. She is not simply a female lead who is constantly screaming at the sight of ghosts. Gabriel Byrne gives a more nuanced performance as her struggling husband, Steve. He is trying to be supportive but is at a loss as to how to help his wife. Milly Shapiro is also strong as their daughter, Charlie, who misses her grandmother, while Alex Wolff is equally impressive as their troubled teenage son, Peter. It is difficult to find much at fault in Hereditary, but perhaps the ending might divide viewers. No doubt, Aster's next film will be eagerly anticipated.