Hereditary: Why Family Equals Fear

In preparation for Hereditary, Andrew Rivera takes a look at why horror movies focused on the families are scarier than any slasher.

From the first trailer, we could tell that the new Hereditary movie from A24 would set a new high bar for horror movies. And with each clip, we grew even more hyped for the creepy, scary horror film starring Toni Collette. In Hereditary, the focus is on a family undergoing tremendous grief. This causes emotions to run high and insidious natures in the characters start to come out — while the deceased family member’s past is reflected on. This got us thinking about horror movies that center around a family going through unspeakable horror. 

From haunted house stories like the Amityville Horror and Sinister, to demonic possessions like The Babadook, Insidious, and the Exorcist, to cannibal clans in the Devil’s Rejects and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, to creepy kids like the Omen and Rosemary’s baby, in this video essay, our analysis has explained three reasons why we find horror films about families so inherently frightening. There’s nothing more frightening than family relations and Andrew is here to analyze why these family dynamics are such a potent horror plot point.

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