A movie idea can come from anywhere.
A moment of inspiration might strike and lead you on a merry dance of creativity, you could spend years trying to meticulously hone and develop a specific concept, or you might analyze Hollywood trends and decide to work in a genre that’s always popular.
That’s exactly what first-time feature film writer and director Ari Aster did with “Hereditary,” something that he openly admitted when I sat down to talk to him about the film earlier this week.
“I came to the genre cynically knowing it would be easier to get a horror film financed. I definitely started off trying to write a horror movie and trying to make a very good horror movie. That was the goal.”
Aster knows he isn’t alone in approaching the genre in this fashion, however he was intent in making sure that his supernatural horror film had much more depth and originality than other films of this ilk.
“I feel like a lot of horror films are made so cynically these days. There’s a built in audience. The demands and requirements of the genre of very clear. The risk/reward algorithm is very much in the studio’s favor. So of course they are going to make a lot of them in droves.”
“Of course, a lot of them, if they are being produced in that way aren’t going to be particularly sophisticated. They aren’t going to be particularly personal. They are going to be what they are. I feel like because of that horror films are perceived as guilty until proven innocent, quality wise.”
Aster is still a huge fan of the genre, though, as he proceeded to wax lyrical about “Hereditary’s” various influences, all of which are the exceptions to the vast amount of uninspiring horror films.
“When ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ came out that was the exception to the shlocky B-horror movie. There are always exceptions. Like ‘Let The Right One In,’ ‘Get Out,’ which is really more of a satire but is brilliant.”
“For me, most notably, there’s ‘The Wailing,’ which is a really great South Korean horror film that came out years ago. ‘Kill List,’ too, which is drawing from ‘The Wicker Man.’ Ben Wheatley is someone that has been playing with genre in a great way since ‘Down Terrace.’
“I also had to consider the traditions that I appreciated in the genre. I just loved the slow-burning patient horror films.”
“Films like ‘Don’t Look Now,’ ‘Rosemary’s Baby,’ ‘The Innocents.’ I really loved the expressionistic and highly aestheticized films like ‘Night Of The Hunter,’ the Giallo films, and what Argento was doing, and what David Lynch does. These are the films that I naturally gravitate to and love about the genre.”
You can see if “Hereditary,” which revolves around Toni Collette’s trying to deal with grief following the death of her mother and finding out a secret that might destroy her family, is a worthy addition to the horror genre when it is released on Friday.