Gabriel’s first foray into the world of horror in a long time, the new film Hereditary, premieres as part of the Midnight Section at the Sundance Film Festival Sunday, January 21.

Additional screenings at the festival include: Monday 1/22, 8:30 p.m., Tuesday 1/23, 6:00 p.m., Wednesday 1/24, 11:45 p.m.,  and Saturday 1/27, 12 noon.

The New York Times notes in its roundup of the festival, 5 Movies to Watch:

The director Ari Aster caused an internet stir with his 2011 short film “The Strange Thing About the Johnsons,” an eyebrow-raising family melodrama that played like a horror film, approaching a taboo subject from a different angle (a son who molests his father). Now Mr. Aster’s first feature is appearing in the midnight section of the festival, and it’s another creepy, family-focused story about a clan who must reckon with a dark fate after the death of a grandmother. Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne and Ann Dowd are part of the cast. Plus, A24 is already set to distribute, and its track record on releasing compelling films, including “The Florida Project” and “Lady Bird,” has been solid to say the least.

Speaking of production company A24, they just released this:

New Poster

Brad Miska over at Bloody Disgusting reports:

It’s been an awesome week for posters. Starz’s one-sheet for “Ash vs Evil Dead” is easily one of the best I’ve ever seen, and this morning’s reveal of the art for Jonas Åkerlund‘s hotly anticipated Lords of Chaos was truly heavy metal. Now, an excellent poster was erected for Ari Aster‘s Hereditary, starring Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Ann Dowd, and Milly Shapiro.

He included a new synopsis:

“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.”

Music for the film

I love Jóhann Jóhannsson’s music for the film Arrival. Composer/saxophonist Colin Stetson assisted on that score and now he has composed the entire soundtrack for this new film.

Sometimes Gabriel’s movies lead me to new ideas and books, or directors and actors with whom I am not very familiar, or perhaps foreign places I would love to visit someday. In the case of this film, he is leading me to a new director, Ari Aster; a new young actor, Milly Shapiro; and now a composer and musician: Colin Stetson. So when someone asks me why I am a Gabriel Byrne fan, this is one response: he enlightens and surprises me and shows me new stuff all the time. That’s a gift. heart

FACT: Colin Stetson on the restraint and all-out chaos of his first horror score Hereditary

Hereditary follows a family reckoning with dark forces following the death of their reclusive grandmother and standout performances from Toni Colette, Gabriel Byrne and child actor Milly Shapiro (best known for starring in Matilda The Musical) are already attracting attention. Director Aster achieved notoriety with a series of controversial short films and approached Stetson to work on the film two years ago with a first draft of the script. Stetson’s unusual saxophone compositions had been an inspiration for Aster as he was writing the movie, so the saxophonist’s involvement is fitting, to say the least…

Stetson: As for what it needed musically, as horror films tend to do, Hereditary uses a lot of music. I don’t know that I’m able to speak specifically of minutes, but this is a colossal score, and as so much of it is furthering both general and specific feelings of dread, confusion, and unraveling, the music has to be tied incredibly tightly to picture.

In this case, that was a joy, as the acting performances in the film are tremendous and really inspired the sonic character of the music from moment to moment. In terms of instrumentation, I relied on a stable of acoustic sound sources almost exclusively…

You can follow Colin on Twitter. His profile is unique:

Mostly saxophones, mostly solo, sometimes duo, other times EX EYE [his band], occasional SORROW [recent composition], the odd film score, and then I walk into the trees and just walk and walk…

And in case you missed the first promotional still:

Yes, this is dark, but so is the film, apparently… wink

Last but not least, a note about the production and how the state of Utah stays strongly involved with Sundance, from The Utah Review:

Utah’s connections to the Sundance Film Festival (Jan. 18-28 in Park City and Salt Lake City) run deeper than what many people likely will see in the press coverage. Not only has the international festival been established as one of the most significant cultural events every year in the state, it has fostered film literacy and intellectual curiosity about cinema that are cultivated and nourished in many Utah outlets throughout the year. But, more importantly, Sundance has helped Utah grow its film industry to levels that outperform expectations, given the state’s population…

This year’s Sundance slate underscores the fruits of the state’s growing film industry. There are at least 16 films, comprising one-seventh of the festival’s 2018 schedule, that represent significant Utah connections – either in fiscal sponsorship, executive producer credits, location and/or creative involvement and contributions. The Utah Film Commission sponsored two films, including Damsel, an Old West romance tale directed by David Zellner and Nathan Zellner, starring Robert Pattinson and Mia Wasikowska. The other is Hereditary, a psychological thriller about a family in the aftermath of a grandmother’s death, which is directed by Ari Aster and stars Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff and Ann Dowd…

Utah proved to be easier for Hereditary in securing locations and permits than in other areas such as Los Angeles, Vancouver or areas in Georgia…

Stay tuned for more news and possibly a trailer! And good luck to Hereditary! star


  1. Wow. You are absolutely right Stella. Gabriel’s work often stretches our imagination and leads us into the most fascinating directions and connections with artists that we might otherwise have missed. The state of Utah’s support for filmmakers is an example for other places. Thanks for these articles.


    • The tweets from last night’s premiere at Sundance are all so positive! This film scared everyone to bits. Strong writing and atmosphere, superb performances, real jolts of unexpected terror, music that added texture and meaning. Can’t wait to see it!

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