Director Ari Aster’s feature-length debut is a masterstroke of understatement and slow-burn tension that often recalls “The Babadook” and “The Witch.” Toni Collette delivers a career-best performance as a grieving daughter and mother whose family life slowly starts to unravel due to growing supernatural happenstances. It’s not an easy film to digest, given that it forces the audience to confront grief and mourning again and again, but it’s precisely that heaviness that propels the narrative forward. In addition, there are some extraordinary supporting performances, in particular Alex Wolff as Collette’s son and Ann Dowd as a kindly acquaintance. Aster’s direction is precise and deliberate while the sound effects slowly tighten the screws on the plot, making each scene unsettling in different ways. It’s also rare to watch a movie that’s entirely unpredictable from beginning to end, and for that reason alone it’s worth a watch from serious movie watchers as well as horror fans, and I suspect it will become a bona-fide classic as the years pass.
Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)