Is 'Hereditary' Based on a True Story? Movie Scores Low With Fans

Horror film Hereditary scored low with audiences, despite high praise from critics, after its Friday release.

Hereditary, at its core, is a familial drama about grief that ties in unsettling elements familiar to the horror genre. It follows a family of four, the Grahams, dealing with the sinister events that transpire following the death of their matriarch.  

The flick from A24, the studio behind acclaimed movies Lady Bird and The Witch, earned a brutal D+ grade through CinemaScore—an industry-leading website that polls fans after viewing a film on opening night. Low grades on CinemaScore are typically reserved for horror films such as Cameron Diaz's The Box. In September, Jennifer Lawrence's psychological thriller mother! was the last horror film to earn the rare F rating from CinemaScore. 

Hereditary is based on a true story, but not in the traditional sense. Previous horror thrillers claimed to be "based on a true story," like Poltergeist and The Conjuring, but the film's director and screenwriter, Ari Aster, said some parts of Hereditary were inspired by his personal life.

"The feelings behind the film are very personal," Aster told Inverse Monday. "When I watch the film, I'll remember certain times in my life just based on the mood."

Hereditary is Aster's debut feature film. Despite minimal appreciation from audiences, the film sits at 92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 87 percent on Metacritic. It opened up against Warner Bros. Ocean's 8, but it managed to earn record numbers at the box office with $13 million. While these numbers are low compared to fellow horror thriller's A Quiet Place and Get OutHereditary's earnings exceeded expectations and allowed it to become A24's largest opening to date.

"[Aster's] clearly learned from the greats while still making a film that doesn't entirely look, feel or sound like anyone else's," The Wrap's Alonso Duralde said of Hereditary Friday.  "With nary a jump scare in sight, Aster has created a moody piece with a delicate but devastating sense of dread."

Hereditary, Toni Collete Actress Toni Collette is pictured as Annie Graham in a still from A24's "Hereditary." The film, out June 8, 2018, scored a D+ from fans on Cinemascore. A24

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