Little Charlie (Milly Shapiro) misses Grandma in the effectively horrifying Hereditary. (A24 image)

Reel Reviews: Evil bloodlines and jewelry heists

We say, “Hereditary is refreshingly scary, Ocean’s 8 is familiarly okay.

Hereditary tells the story of a family of four dealing with the recent death of their overbearing mother and grandmother. As the Graham family looks into their matriarch’s past, trying to move on, they keep discovering secrets that point to a disturbing truth about themselves. It seems grandma was in league with some evil forces and has plans for her family from beyond the grave.

In Ocean’s 8 it’s time for the ladies to take centre stage with their heist. When Deborah Ocean (Sandra Bullock) is released from prison, she puts together a crack all-woman team to steal a necklace worth $150 million, along with some other trinkets.

We say, “Hereditary is refreshingly scary, Ocean’s 8 is familiarly okay.

TAYLOR: I liked Hereditary. It’s a good movie and a very good horror film, in that, it’s horrifying. The film is unusual for horror movies in that it doesn’t have a first act of cheap startles and peering into darkness. Instead we get to know the family in the story, their odd personalities, a bit of their history and we watch them deal with their grief, each in their own way. The father (Gabriel Byrne) seems to want to go on, business as usual. The mother (Toni Collette, in a raw, brave performance) begins going to a therapy group, but all that does is convince the audience that there really is something wrong with her. The little girl, Charlie (Milly Shapiro) seems almost catatonic as she dreamily wanders through her life, not paying attention at school, drawing unflattering pictures of her family, acting strangely. Teenage Peter, (Alex Wolff) seems at first to be coping the best, trying to lead a normal life with his friends. When Peter is involved in a car accident, the family has to deal with even more grief and the audience is now fully invested, we can sympathize with this horrible turn of events. The rest of the film is a spooky mystery where we try to suss out what is going on with the rest of the family, as things get stranger and stranger.

HOWE: I can’t believe that the movie theatre was about three quarters full and only two other guys besides myself were there. Ocean’s 8 is a fun, smart movie that has a few twists and reminds me of the first movie in the franchise. Now Bullock is no George Clooney in the fact that she is believable as being able to pull the whole team together, yet I can let this slide. The real stars that shine and steal the limelight from her are her sidekicks, Lou (Cate Blanchett) and Rose (Helena Bonham Carter), the latter being as strange and nutty as regular. The movie itself is entertaining, the acting is good but it is not a movie that, at the end of the year when I think back on what I have seen, that I will say, “You know what, Ocean’s 8 was one of the best movies of 2018.” If you are deciding to go to the movies yet had enough of the comic book films, then Oceans 8 is a good safe bet for a night out.

TAYLOR: I think you would have liked Hereditary, it’s a slow burn. Along the way you get little pieces that you can put together, there are very few red herrings and although some things are left up to speculation, the ending makes sense. By the end, having witnessed the way this family was used by people devoted to evil, the horror feels real. Being sympathetic helps, but audiences are still going to see some things they’ve never seen before, which is valuable. Hereditary also has a great deal of style. Allow yourself to become immersed in the film and it will reward you with horror.

Taylor gives Hereditary four lengths of wire out of five.

Howe gives Ocean’s 8 three safety pin necklaces out of five.

— Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon.


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