Ari Aster (USA, 1986) debuted, after the
short film The Strange Thing About the Johnsons (2011), with the
horror movie Hereditary (2018), a great horror movie spoiled by
a silly and trivial ending.
The film lays the foundation for a Rosemary Baby-kind of psychiatric
drama but then opts for a much less interesting (and much less plausible)
The camera shows a room full of miniature homes and then moves into one of them,
where a kid, Peter, is sleeping.
An old woman just died, Ellen, who is being mourned at the memorial by her
daughter Annie, although Annie does not hesitate to admit that she knows
very little of Ellen's private life.
Annie works as a artist who builds very detailed miniature homes and is
preparing an exhibition. Her daughter Charlie is the one who will most miss
granma because the was very attached. Charlie is an introverted girl who
likes to draw on a sketchbook all sorts of pictures. She also makes an annoying
sound with her mouth. While she is at school, a bird hits the window of
the classroom. She collects the dead bird, cuts the head with scissors
and pockets the head. The cemetery calls Ellen's husband Steve to tell him
that someone has stolen the corpse of Ellen. He doesn't tell his wife.
Annie joins a group therapy workshop where she reveals that her whole family
has had mental problems, with her father starving himself to death and her
brother also killing himself.
Schoolmates invite Annie's teenage son Peter to a party and Annie forces him
to take Charlie to the party to make sure that Peter will not drink.
At the party Charlie impresses his favorite girl by showing that he has
marijuana. The kids move to a separate room to smoke it. Charlies shows up
with problems breathing: she has eaten a cake containing nuts to which she
is allergic. She is suffocating. Peter carries her to the car
and starts driving very fast to reach the hospital but along the way
he swerves to avoid a deer just when Charlie has her head outside the window: Charlie is decapitated by an electric pole.
Peter doesn't have the courage to look at the dead body. He drives slowly home
and simply goes to bed. In the morning he hears his mother walk out the
house and then scream when she finds Charlie's dead and beheaded body.
After the funeral Peter is back at doing drugs with his classmates but he
almost suffocates himself. Annie is approached by Joan, a woman she met
at the group therapy. Joan tells her that she too had survive the death
of someone close to her: her son and grandson, who drowned.
At home Peter can't sleep: he sees and hears Charlie in his room.
Annie tells Joan that she used to sleepwalk and once she found herself
in the children's room ready to set fire to them and herself, and that Peter
never forgave her. Back at home she starts building a miniature reconstruction
of the car accident, including Charlie's severed head, which horrifies her
husband Steve. During lunch she loses her temper with Peter, who has never
apologized for the accident. He retorts that she is the one who insisted
that Charlie attend the party. Joan begs Annie to attend a seance during
which Joan successfully communicates with her grandson. Joan gives Anne
instructions on how to try this at home.
That night Annie has a nightmare in which she sees Peter's body covered
with ants. She wakes up in his room in front of a terrified Peter: she was
sleepwalking. She breaks down and admit to Peter that she didn't want him
and tried all sorts of tricks to provoke an abortion. But maybe this was a
dream too. Annie wakes up Peter and Steve to perform a seance together.
Steve is reluctant but then acquiesces. The seance results in objects
responding to her invocation of Charlie. Eventually, Steve interrupts her
performance in which she was adopting Charlie's voice when the situation
Peter has a nightmare in which his mother tries to strangle him.
Annie, thinking that Charlie is now possessed by a demon, tries to burn
Charlie's sketchbook but the book survives and instead her sweater catches
Annie drives to Joan's apartment for advice but Joan is not there: Joan
is doing some magic on Peter at school.
At home Annie searches through her mother's boxes and finds Satanic books
and pictures of her mother with Joan: Joan never mentioned that she was a good
friend of her mother. Annie searches the attic and finds a headless corpse
covered with flies, presumably the corpse of her mother. As this happens at
home, in school Peter is possessed and slams his head on his desk, breaking
his nose. Steve drives Peter home and blames his wife's madness for Peter's
trauma. Annie, however, is more convinced than ever that there is a demonic
plot to turn Peter into a demon king. Annie begs Steve to check the attic.
Steve finds the corpse and accuses Annie of being the one who dug it up
from the grave and put it there. Annie begs Steve to burn Charlie's
sketchbook. Steve refuses to believe her nonsense. Annie throws the book in the
fire. Steve catches fire and is burned alive.
Peter finds his father's charred body and then is chased around the house
by a ferocious Annie. He locks himself in the attic but jumps out the
window when he finds the corpse and sees some people next to it and
notices a picture of himself in the middle of a circle of candles
and sees her mother cutting her own head with a wire.
Peter gets up unharmed but his mouth makes the sound that Charlie was always
making. He walks towards Charlie's treehouse, where he sees
that someone is pulling up his mother's decapitated body. He climbs the
stairs and finds a group of people kneeling in front of a crucifix of the
demon king. Joan calls him "Charlie" instead of Peter and crowns him as the
demon king Paimon: Charlie was the one chosen for that role but only a male
can become Paimon, hence the transfer of Charlie into Peter's male body.
The treehouse is one of the miniature homes built by Annie for her exhibition.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx) |
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