This post contains spoilers for the ending of Hereditary
Hereditary was declared not only one of the scariest movies of the decade, but a film that could actually traumatize its viewers.
With its glut of unparalleled performances, masterful cinematography, cryptic messages, and unflinching storytelling, the movie continues to haunt critics and audiences alike.
But the young actors who so evocatively brought Peter (Alex Wolff) and Charlie (Milly Shaprio) to life have been haunted in a different kind of way, now that they‘re the breakout stars of a bonafide horror hit.
Well mostly, they‘re just getting a whole lot of terrified looks from people in public.
“I‘ve found that I can actually tell how long it‘s been since they‘ve seen the movie,” Alex Wolff told Mashable. “Just from the look on their face, I can tell the difference between people who saw it a few days ago, people who saw it months ago, or the people who just saw it that day.”
On one particularly hilarious occasion, Wolff was sticking his head out of a cab window — and don‘t get ahead of yourself, he was not decapitated. But a couple he happened upon, who he could tell from the look on their face had only just seen the movie, made quite the scene over spotting Paimon IRL.
“This guy grabs his husband or boyfriend and just starts smacking his chest, starring at me, and screams ‘Ah!!!‘ out loud. Just smacking him again and again while pointing at me and going, ‘Oh my god! oh my GOD! Jerry! Jerry! Fucking look!‘”
When Jerry finally turned around to see what the fuss was about, Wolff said their faces looked like operatic horror movie music had started playing in their heads.
“They looked so upset and scared, so of course I smiled at ‘em and played it up. Gave them the creepiest smile possible — that paimon smile.”
While Wolff is too humble and goofy to make a big deal out of it, one behind-the-scenes segment with director Ari Aster from the Blu-ray DVD of Hereditary (releasing on Sept. 3) emphasized the young actors commitment to the part. He method acted throughout the duration of the shoot, staying in character as Peter for months.
Milly Shapiro absolutely slayed as the demon child Charlie in “Hereditary”
But, he said, that was just a practical tool when it comes to staying inside the head of a character as traumatized as Peter. Still, after the shooting, the film felt hard to shake.
“It stuck with me — it was hard to get past it,” he admitted, though still reluctant to sound too pretentious about the process. “The emotional toll was the most upsetting part of it, though, not so much the horror.”
He even still has a pair of shoes he used during the movie, and found blood stains from god knows what when he tried to use them again.
Milly Shapiro, on the other hand, gets bombarded with Tweets and exclamations of relief from people running over to her on the street to express how relieved they are to see her alive, well, and not decapitated.
She also gets quite a lot of clucking from fans, though she‘s made it abundantly clear that clucking in the theaters during a screen of the movie is not OK.
But funnily enough, Shapiro doesn‘t really feel as traumatized by Hereditary as everyone else. Actually, being on the movie helped desensitize her from getting shook too easily.
“I used to be terrified of everything, but I have a really high tolerance for horror movies now,” she said. It was part of a conscious choice on her part years ago, to help her conquer fears.
“My whole idea was that I‘d be really creepy, so then things wouldn‘t creep me out — they‘d be creeped out by me instead. Which was a very weird idea for a 9 or 10 year old to have. But it worked!”
I think we can all agree it most definitely worked. Maybe a little too well.