“Hey, have you seen this movie? What did you think about THAT SCENE?!” We have all used that phrase at one point during our discussions of movies with the other person’s eyebrows raising, “Oh yea, THAT SCENE!” You go on to pick that memorable scene a part by listing what you loved or didn’t like, how it made you feel and the impression it left on you.
In this series we will do just that. We will take a scene from a movie and discuss its impact on us. Some of these scenes may be frightening, weird, iconic, controversial, hilarious and everything in between. Let us know your impression of the scene and the impact it left on you the first time you watched it down below in the comments. Enjoy!
*Warning: May Contain Spoilers*
Scene: Charlie’s Death Scene
I have grown up my whole life watching every kind of horror movie that came along. I was rarely scared or traumatized by anything that I saw on the screen. Most of the time, I just thought it was disgustingly cool and I just got a thrill from it all. I saw an alien burst from a man’s chest, Leatherface hang a still living person from a meat hook, heads explode, hearts ripped out, entrails exposed and pretty much anything else you can imagine. Not much as ever affected me. Till it came to kids being hurt after I became a parent. This scene hurt me. I am man enough to admit I teared up at this and was sick to my stomach. It wasn’t just what happened but how it happened and how director Ari Aster shot the whole thing. As much as I didn’t like what happened, I have to admit it was a masterclass from a first time director in building tension and uneasiness with a payoff not many are brave enough to execute.
When Hereditary starts, we meet an odd little girl named Charlie. She was quiet, awkward and like cutting heads off of dead birds. We also learned she had a peanut allergy and that her older brother, Peter, liked to smoke the gunja. He tells his mother that he is going to a school function one night and she asks him if it’s okay to take his little sister so she can interact with some other kids. He reluctantly asks her and she reluctantly accepts with a little prodding from her mother. Problem is Peter wasn’t going to a school function. Instead, he was going to a party to smoke a bowl with some chicky he digs. While he is off smoking in another room, Charlie has a hard time fitting in with this older crowd till they serve up some cake and she begins to clear her throat. This brings us to our scene.
We all know what it meant when Charlie started clearing her throat because we knew she had that nut allergy and we saw some girls chopping a ton of peanuts to throw into the cake mixture. It also meant that Peter was going to be busted. She finds Peter and tells him she is having a hard time breathing and he quickly carries her to the car to rush her to the hospital. Peter floors it while Charlie’s ability to breathe intensifies as she struggles and flails around in the backseat of the car opening the window to get some air. Peter panicking tries to calm her as she sticks her head out the window. Peter looks back to the to see a deer lying dead the road, he swerves and it happens.
Charlie’s head smashes into a telephone poll when Peter swerved and lost control, decapitating the young girl on impact. Gasp. You knew something bad was going to happen here or the very least Peter would simply get grounded for lying and taking his kids sister to a partying where there was drinking and drugs. We didn’t expect this. Ari Aster didn’t cut away and let our imaginations run wild. No, he pulled us in and had our eyes glued on this horrific event as you watched her head fly off from her body with a sickening thud. We all felt Peter’s terror and apprehension at not wanting to look back to see the carnage. In shock, he simply drives away. What was almost as horrific as the incident is listening to the mother (played wonderfully by Toni Collette) frantically scream at finding her headless child the next morning while we watch Peter’s emotionless face.