So... How to begin a review for this movie? I personally loved it, but I know that many will walk out of this movie hating it. Much like recent horror films from A24 (The Witch, Under the Skin), it approaches horror in a more cerebral way than most audiences are used to, but the movie gets to you in such a way than even those that don't go for this type of horror will leave the movie unsettled. It slowly picks at you, slowly but methodically building towards an fairly brutal ending.
Without giving too much away, the film follows Annie (Toni Collette), her husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne), and her two children Peter (Alex Wolff) and Charlie (Milly Shapiro) in the aftermath of Annie's mother's death. It is revealed very quickly that Annie did not have a good relationship with her mother prior to her death, and that strange things went on in the house.
The performances across the board are amazing. A24 has announced it intends to campaign for an Oscar nomination for Toni Collette, and it would be a deserving nomination. The way she plays Annie's slow unraveling is a marvel - easily amongst the greatest horror movie performances ever (though if anyone saw 2015's Krampus, they knew Collette was a natural for the genre).
Alex Wolff is also fairly compelling as Peter. The performance is a bit of a revelation, and he almost manages to steal the movie out from under Collette. Shapiro and Byrne are given less to do, but the enrich the other two performances fairly well.
One of the smarter directorial decisions was the use of miniatures (Annie is an artist who excels in them) to frame many of the scenes and, in some cases, throw the audience off-kilter by starting with what looks like a miniature before revealing that is in fact the set.
Now, the horror here is more cerebral, as noted earlier, and this is where the movie will prove to be divisive. There are no real jump scares in this film - it is more focused on the slow burn effect - but several of the scenes stick with you throughout the movie, making you question each scene and its meaning.
The script, from Ari Aster, interweaves memory, hallucination, dreams, and real life fairly seamlessly - effectively using mental illness as a subtext for the horror.
I highly recommend this movie, 9.5 out of 10.