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The sudden and inexorable rise of the so-called “arthouse horror movie” in recent years has been an unexpected yet wholeheartedly welcome trend over the last decade or so. Although the results are often not for everybody, it has produced a string of unquestionable instant-classics each and every year: interesting, compelling and obsessively rewatchable films that remind us both the power of terror and the ability of film to manifest are deepest anxieties in the flesh, for all the world to see.
Hereditary is merely the most recent of this trend, and it is everything you would expect given that description. Meditative, divisive and impeccably shot, it is easily one of this year’s best films so far and will doubtless remain such through the end of the year. But to fully appreciate what it’s trying to do, it warrants looking back on the many films that came before it, whose aesthetic and narrative concerns are shared by Ari Aster’s astonishing debut feature.
Nicholas - Winding - Refn - Anything - Filmmaker
Let it never be said that Nicholas Winding Refn is anything but an interesting filmmaker. Although he has worked steadily in the film industry since the mid-nineties, he broke out to mainstream recognition with 2011’s Drive: an elevated, grindhouse-esque action-thriller in which a nameless getaway driver (Ryan Gosling) seeks to protect his neighbor and her son from a ruthless pair of Gangsters (Ron Perlman and Albert Brooks). Generally seen as a disappointment, his net film, Only God Forgives (2013), has only just now started to be reappraised as more than just a confusing follow-up to its more copelling forebear.
The Neon Demon, however, brought audiences back around to his side, even if they were repulsed by what was shown to them. In this film, an aspiring model (the demure Elle Fanning), her transfixing beauty violently compel her fellow models to act out...
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