“Hereditary” Discussion Questions

Write a paragraph or two in response to each of the following prompts:

As usual, let’s start with the title. Why is this movie called “Hereditary”?  What are we to understand as being hereditary in this film? More broadly, how are the ideas of inheritance and family significant to the narrative? What is the film saying about “family”?

Like I mention in the introduction to this movie, a whole internet meme has started where people apply Colin Stetson’s eerie soundtrack to other scenes. What is it about this music that makes it so creepy? And how does it affect our experience of the film? Are there particular scenes in the film that we interpret primarily through the music? If so, which ones and how does the music make us react differently to what we’re seeing?

What is the significance of the dolls and dollhouses in this film? How do they affect our understanding of the characters and the narrative?

Finally, why is this film considered “elevated horror”? What do you think that term means and how does it apply to this movie in particular? Feel free to compare and contrast “Hereditary” to the previous two films we’ve watched, “The Witch” and “Tigers Are Not Afraid,” which are also often considered part of the recent trend toward “elevated horror.”

Published by Chuck Caruso

writer of dark fiction (crime, horror & western noir), literary & textual scholar (american gothic, noir, po-co, sf), and cultural critic

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