“Hereditary” Had A Three Hour Cut

A24 opened the familial horror film “Hereditary” this weekend where it pulled in $13 million, the highest opening to date for the indie distributor. Critics have raved about the film, citing it as one of the year’s best, but the audience CinemaScore sits at a dismal D+.

That disconnect is becoming common with horror built more on atmosphere and sustained feelings of dread than jump scares, the same thing happening in recent times with “The Witch,” “It Follows” and “It Comes At Night”. While various columnists are writing think pieces trying to explain it, the film’s director has revealed to Collider that the original cut of the movie runs long – far longer than the final:

I need the audience to be invested in who these people are. And then if what happens to them is going to be really affecting, it needs to be coming out of that. It needs to be growing out of that. It cannot be … And in some ways, I don’t even know what people are watching.

The original movie was much longer. We cut thirty scenes out. So I certainly know the work I had done to set up everything and to earn everything, but a lot of that stuff that we had earned in the longer cut, we cut for pacing. And so I’m actually extremely relieved that people still feel that everything’s earned, because it is actually… it’s less of a drama than it used to be.

So I keep talking about it as this family tragedy, this family drama, that is going to be more of that than a horror film. But the fact is, we actually cut so much of that out, we didn’t cut any of the horror stuff out.

Asked if he would release the longer cut he says “I wouldn’t like to release the full cut, beause I think at three hours, it was long.” He also explained how the additional material changes the movie:

“Everything that’s there [that was cut] is family drama stuff, which actually, I think makes it more punishing, but it also makes it more … It certainly made it more meditative. It was more demanding. It was less of a mainstream film. It was a film that would have locked out a good portion of the audience, that I think is now invited … is in.

But it was a film that really took its time. And so there was about an hour more of material that was not horror, that was just about the family going through what they’re going through, and not communicating, and not doing what they need to do to come together. “

“Hereditary” is now out in cinemas everywhere.