Opening June 14, 2018
Directed by: Ari Aster
Writing credits: Ari Aster
Principal actors: Toni Collet Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Ann Dowd
Don’t eat the nut cake! I suspiciously accepted the piece of cake that they handed out before the film but couldn’t resist the temptation and before I knew it I had fallen victim to one of the cryptic messages that lay deep within this script. Director/screen writer Ari Aster has created a diabolic supernatural horror masterpiece which reminds us of films like Carrie, The Omen and Rosemary’s Baby. With throbbing melancholic music and underlining symbolism such as a bird’s head, red eyes, secret scriptures hidden in the wallpaper, naked figures in the distance as well as a strange wooden house on stilts, the tone is set very quickly, which helps to build up the drama around the Graham family.
From the beginning it is clear that Annie not only suffers from depression but has a difficult relationship to her mother. The matriarchically figure Ellen has passed away leaving her daughter Annie a legacy that has made her fearful, even more depressed and grinding with repulsion as strange things begin to happen. For years Annie has hidden from her mother and the secrets about their family tree and has busied herself creating miniature autobiographical theater sets. Her family consists of four. Peter (Alex Wolff) is a teenage boy who listens to music, attends school and smokes pot. His sister Charlie is a strangely odd girl who makes clucking sounds that haunt us throughout the film brilliantly played by Milly Shapiro. The last is Annie husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne) who plays a minor role. It seems that Ellen has powers that can reach out beyond the grave and in a short time Annie realizes she has to put a stop to the bizarre events that will destroy her family. The mood of the film reminds us of David’s Lowery’s A Ghost Story since the timing is very slow paced yet strangely off-center and very dark. The film debuted at Sundance and made it to mainstream in a wink of a blink. So if you want a good night’s sleep tonight, I would advise you not eat the nut cake! (Shelly S.)