Hereditary Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

After the family matriarch passes away, a grieving family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences, and begin to unravel dark secrets.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

90

Details:

Studio and Year: Lionsgate – 2018
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 127 minutes
Genre: Horror/Thriller

Disc Format: BD-100
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.00:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Ann Dowd, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro
Written & Directed by: Ari Aster
Music by: Colin Stetson
Region Code: A

Release Date: September 4, 2018

“Evil Runs in the Family”

My Take:

When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited. Making his feature debut, writer-director Ari Aster unleashes a nightmare vision of a domestic breakdown that exhibits the craft and precision of a nascent auteur, transforming a familial tragedy into something ominous and deeply disquieting, and pushing the horror movie into chilling new terrain with its shattering portrait of heritage gone to hell.

It’s funny but it seems like there are many people that simply don’t watch horror films. When I bring up the subject of any particular scary flick I get “I don’t like or I don’t watch scary movies”. That of course isn’t everyone but it’s more than you think. The reason for this regardless of what people say is that they simply don’t like the feeling of anxiety, suspense and consternation brought on by watching them. For me some of that is true as well but it really depends on the type of horror the film employs. Horror that works on you psychologically combined with things that go bump in the night followed by foreboding dread is the kind of stuff that in my opinion makes for the best hair-raising movies.

Hereditary is just such a movie. It’s one-part psychological thriller and one-part horror movie. The narrative is a wonderful slow burn that carefully places its pieces, builds suspense and spends its final moments raising the hairs on the back of your neck. Mind you there is probably nothing here that we haven’t seen before but the execution which is aided by effective use of lighting and camera work, is quite good. The script is solid, tossing in elements of drama, familial discord and just the right hint of victims seeing/hearing things then trying to ascertain if their crazy or perhaps worse. I liked how this one felt like a ghost story at one moment and then supernatural at the next, all the while keeping you teetering back forth wondering where it was going. I will say that it was one of those creepy flicks that had me thinking about it well after the credits rolled.

Toni Collette is simply fantastic as her performances serves as the springboard for the strong turns by Alex Wolff and Gabriel Byrne. Hereditary is paced just a tad slow for a genre film but, the reward bears fruit, delivering a spooky good chiller that my family and I enjoyed quite a bit.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for horror violence, disturbing images, language, drug use and brief graphic nudity.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation(HDR-10): 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color:
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

UHD Presentation (Dolby Vision): 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color:
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

Audio: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): 

Hereditary comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

For its presentation in Ultra HD Hereditary was derived from a 3.4K source, and rendered from a 2K DI. From a cinematic perspective, this film was shot with a specific visual aesthetic in mind and that comes through in this presentation. At times the image is nearly devoid of color, while at others, has a pleasingly diverse palate, that sets the mood of a scene. Shot digitally the image has a smooth aesthetic, with clean delineation that draws out plenty of detail, in both close-up and wide-angle camera shots. Blacks are deep without compromise to fidelity, as the layers of detail seen with them is readily apparent. Contrast abounds as the richness of the depth seen in grays, whites and mid-tones pops in the film’s variety of low level sequences. Fleshtones adhere to the film’s visual aesthetic and appear consistent throughout the presentation.

As I alluded to earlier Hereditary isn’t a predominantly colorful film however its cooler chromatic hues, sepia tones and variants of blue/red benefited from UHD’s wider color gamut, appearing warmer and pleasing to the eye. There is intermittent use of visual elements that utilize high dynamic range. I wasn’t especially impressed with its application although some of that may be owed to the nature of the photography. There were instances where bright elements looked appreciably vibrant but, none really stood out.

This Ultra HD rendering makes the most of the film’s elements, which are excellent. Looking at the 1080p version, which is solid in its own right, the difference is noticeable, but not what I would describe as night and day. That being said, there is no question about which of the two makes for the most engaging viewing experience.

Dolby Vision vs HDR-10:

I utilize the TCL 55P607 UHD Dolby Vision HDR flat panel in my review system to enable me to compare the visual quality of titles that contained the Dolby Vision metadata versus its HDR-10 counterpart on the same disc. All titles are first watched via my JVC front projector. I then select specific scenes which are watched on the TCL, first via HDR-10 then via Dolby Vision. The TCL isn’t among the top tier flat panels with DV, however it came recommended by AVS Forum Senior Editor Mark Henninger, and calibrates/performs extremely well for a set at its price point.

* The cumulative A/V score will still be based upon the HDR-10 rating, with the DV rating serving as informational only for now.*

Comparing the DV and HDR-10 presentations for Hereditary, I found the HDR rendering to essentially be identical. As I alluded to earlier, this film’s elements aren’t consistently lent to bright color and vibrant highlights. When I switched back and forth between the DV and HDR-10 renderings, any minute differences were negligible and not enough to warrant a rating difference. Both looked terrific, leaving me similarly satisfied with what I saw.

The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack has good dynamic range, detail rich clarity and makes ample use of the surround platform to drive the film’s elements. The detection of subtle background sounds, off camera cues and spatial dimension within the room’s acoustic environment is notable. Discrete rear channel activity isn’t extensive however the elements of fright provide an enriching level of immersion which is punctuated by palpably rich bass. Dialog is firmly planted in the center channel and renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction. This surround mix capably handles the subtle intricacies thrown at by this soundtrack as it augments the thematic tone of this film.

** The decision not to offer a Dolby Atmos immersive sound mix for this film is a curious one as I believe it would have enhanced the film’s thematic impact.**

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:

Hereditary comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video.

This is an excellent high definition rendering that sports plenty of fine detail and crisp definition that provides discerning dimensional perspective. Colors range from warm and vivid to cool, reserved and almost tonally neutral. This is obviously a creative decision that draws definitive visual boundaries and works quite well. Contrast is strong and blacks are deep without compromise to delineation. Shadowy areas exhibit excellent depth of field and visible gradational stages. Framed at 2.00:1 images onscreen have excellent depth, and a stimulating visual aura. I didn’t see any signs of video degrading artifacts or extraneous compression related noise. Hereditary looks great on Blu-ray.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Hereditary Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Hereditary Blu-ray
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Cursed: The True Nature of Hereditary Featurette
  • Evil in Miniature Photo Gallery
  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

Written and directed by Aris Aster Hereditary is a multifaceted genre entry that is well executed and excellent hair-raising fun. It comes to Blu-ray in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack featuring excellent overall video quality, engaging lossless sound and a middling supplemental package. Hereditary should be high on the list of genre fans looking for a quality film to watch on a stormy night.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems