Pumpkin Person rating: 7 out of 10

For years commenter “Race Realist” has been telling me to watch this movie (because I’m a horror fan who is interested in genetics?) but I avoided it because when it comes to horror, I prefer the semi-realistic (i.e. slasher films) to the supernatural (i.e. ghost stories) because the former at least have some kind of logic to then, while in the latter, anything goes (people start flying or shape-shifting, pillows turn into people).

But in the spirit of Halloween I decided to step out my comfort zone and give this film a chance.

The film tells the story of Annie Graham (played by Toni Collette), her husband Steve ( Gabriel Byrne ), and their two teenaged kids, Peter (Alex Wolff ) and Charlie ( Milly Shapiro). For a film called Hereditary, there’s not a lot of physical resemblance between the swarthy Wolf and the pale actors who play his parents.

The Grahams are an upper middle class family with a creepy but beautiful home in the Woods. The film starts with the death of Annie’s mother (who suffered from mental illness) and her fear that her daughter Charlie will do so too. She encourages her socially well-adjusted son Peter to take Annie to a party and something utterly horrific happens. It happens so quickly that I actually had to rewind the film several scenes later to see exactly what happened because I had no idea I had missed something that important.

The film is well-written, well-acted and well-directed (with lots of use distant camera shots) but it’s not fun, enjoyable or entertaining. But if you’re looking for an atmospheric and effective horror film to watch on Netflix this Halloween season, it might be worth a look. If you’re looking for a horror film about Behavioral Genetics, don’t let the title fool you.