Fact or Fright: Is Ari Aster's 'Hereditary' a Traumatizing Account of Reality?

A24's psychological supernatural horror film 'Hereditary' is among the scariest movies ever made, and thankfully, it's not based on a true story.

Allison DeGrushe - Author

Oct. 6 2023, Published 3:35 p.m. ET

'Hereditary' poster featuring Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, and Milly Shapiro.
Source: A24

The Gist:

  • Many believe Hereditary is one of the most horrifying movies of all time.
  • The psychological supernatural horror film was a critical and commercial success.
  • Despite some speculation, Hereditary is not based on a true story.
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With three feature films under his belt, indie horror master Ari Aster has become one of the most talented filmmakers of his generation. He's helmed some of the strangest and most disturbing horror movies of all time, including Beau Is Afraid, Midsommar, and his feature directorial debut, Hereditary.

The latter, a psychological supernatural horror film, left audiences traumatized. It's truly one-of-a-kind, and to this day, many fans wonder if Hereditary is based on a true story. Well, is it? Let's find out.

Toni Collette as Annie Graham in A24's acclaimed horror film 'Hereditary.'
Source: A24
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So, is 'Hereditary' based on a true story?

It really seems like every horror movie featuring a demonic figure is based on real-life events these days, right? There's the popular The Conjuring franchise, the Helen Mirren-led Winchester, and so many more. So, what's up with this new trend?! Wait, does Hereditary fall into this category as well?

Fortunately, it doesn't because Hereditary isn't technically based on a true story. However, the film's occult aspects are rooted in multiple controversial grimoires. King Paimon, who possessed Peter Graham (Alex Wolff) in the horror flick, is considered one of Satan's most loyal servants in Luciferian lore.

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Also, writer-director Ari Aster revealed that the film derived from his own real-life experiences, but he never said what they were (though it's safe to assume he was never involved in bringing a demon to Earth). But he did disclose that the dysfunctional family drama came from a personal place.

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"I don't feel comfortable being explicit about it," Ari stated, per IndieWire. "It's easier for me not to go into detail. I was more pulling from feelings than experiences."

He explained to the outlet that Hereditary is "related to certain things that had happened in my life and things that my family and I went through together," but claimed that the "movie itself is all invention. The feelings behind the film are personal, but none of the characters are surrogates for anybody in my family."

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