As promised, I will explain how the ending of the horror film Hereditary could have been written better. So it goes without saying that you should only read this if you have seen the film. If you haven’t, go watch it. You will either really like it or hate it. If you hated it, I think you would appreciate my take on the ending. Let’s get started.
I would keep the element of a deteriorating family. And what interested me the most, was Annie’s gradual path to madness due to overwhelming grief.
I would get rid of the witchcraft and King Paimon.
Annie finds Charlie decapitated, and she blames Peter for Charlie’s death.
She sort of forgives him, but her grief gradually turns into something bad. She seeks to kill Peter, subconsciously(Annie gets nightmares that she is killing her mother, Peter, and Steve and while sleepwalking tries to choke Peter in his sleep).
Peter senses this danger, but when Annie promises that she’s not ought to hurt him, they rekindle their relationship–only temporarily.
While Annie is having a nightmare, she gets violent and chokes Steve in her sleep(Peter is not home when this happens. He was staying with a friend).
Annie hides the body, fearing that she will be jailed( She buries him under the treehouse).
When Peter asks Annie about Steve, she says he went on a business trip. Annie finds herself alone with ever-increasing grief and guilt for Steve and Charlie’s death. Peter takes note of her psychotic episodes and avoids being around her by staying at a friend’s place.
When Peter returns and finds that Steve has yet to return, he begins to suspect something. Annie can no longer hold the guilt and admits to Peter that she killed Steve.
Peter gets hysterical, claiming that he will turn her in to the police.
She grows terrified and tries to keep Peter at home so that no one will ever know. THIS IS MY CLIMAX (No, not that one. I’m talking about the story here).
And I will write it in screenplay format. Let’s do it.
INT = INTERIOR (INSIDE)
EXT = EXTERIOR (OUTSIDE)
Dialogue is under the character’s name and in italics.
Please excuse this horrid format. I did as best as I could.
INT. GRAHAM RESIDENCE – NIGHT
Peter is frantically rummaging through the house, looking for Steve. Annie sits on a chair, rocking back and forth, looking blankly into the fire. Peter looks her way, his eyes clearly screaming in panic.
But all he does is shed a tear as he approaches her.
Where the hell is dad?
I don’t know.
You do know.
Annie’s eyes water.
You’re right. I do know.
Where the hell is he?
There is a brief moment of silence.
Annie still fixated on the fire, rocks back and forth on a chair. Peter stands in front of her, fidgeting with his fingers. Annie who all this time had been calm, lets out a hysterical sob.
It was only an accident. You must understand.
Peter shakes his head. He’s about to collapse to the floor. Finally, Annie looks straight at Peter, her eyes looking for forgiveness.
I know I blamed you for Charlie’s death but please forgive me. It is only now that I truly understand.
Peter bangs his fist to the wall.
You fucking Psycho. How could you compare Charlie’s death to…
What the fuck are you trying to say?
Steve is gone.
Annie avoids looking Peter’s way. Her eyes fixed on the fire.
Annie chokes in her tears.
Peter throws the chairs and table against the wall in a petrifying fury.
We need help. We got to tell somebody. Let’s go to the police.
Annie’s face goes blank.
She gets up out of the rocking chair for the first time.
Peter hides a sharp broken piece of wood behind his back, ready to charge at her if she attacks him. Annie gradually approaches Peter.
We don’t need the police. What we need is to think through this. Just you and I.
Peter slowly moves one step back each time Annie moves one step closer to him.
He breaks in a sprint and Annie is quick to follow him.
He trips but makes it to his room, locking the door after him before Annie is able to make it in.
He gets the phone, but he gets no dial tone.
He desperately searches for his cell phone but remembers he left it downstairs.
He walks over to the window, ready to jump out, but it’s been nailed shut.
He slowly opens his door and crawls his way to the living room.
He searches for his phone frantically but cannot find it.
That’s when out of nowhere, BAM. Annie hits him with a POT.
CUT TO BLACK.
Peter wakes up chained to a chair and quickly takes notice that all the windows and doors have been nailed shut.
A GUN lies on a table that sits in front of him.
Dad and Charlie will be with us soon.
Peter cries hysterically. He tries to scream but doesn’t have the energy to do so.
Annie stands before him with a tissue in her hand. She wipes his sweat-drenched forehead.
Mom. I love you. Please.
I love you too, Peter. So much. And so does Charlie and Steve.
Let me go, Mom.
We both will be set free and soon we will meet them.
Peter shakes his head.
THEY ARE DEAD. THEY ARE NOT COMING BACK.
A long silence.
You killed Dad. WHY?
You killed Charlie.
You are a sick fuck!
It was an accident.
Peter tilts his head down in agony.
Mine was too, Peter.
He breaks with an intense weep. Annie joins in.
She wipes his tears with the tissue.
We will be a family once again.
Peter shakes his head.
Don’t do this.
Annie grabs the loaded GUN.
You must go first.
Peter’s eyes tremble, glued to the GUN. He SCREAMS while whimpering.
Mom, look at me. I love you.
Annie’s eyes water, she avoids looking at Peter straight in the eye.
They were accidents. Let’s leave it at that.
And I will accidentally place my finger on the trigger.
Annie’s fingers tremble.
I must do this, Peter…for the family.
Peter shakes in his chair ferociously.
Annie stands before him, pointing the GUN at him.
He closes his eyes, awaiting his death.
A body hits the floor.
Peter opens his eyes and sees his mom struggling on the floor, blood filling the carpet. Her body moves as if in a seizure, she is still somehow conscious. She watches Peter but then slowly grins until her eyes close, indicating she’s for sure dead.
SHIT. JESUS CHRIST.
He breaks with yet another wail. He shakes in the chair. But he can’t unfasten himself. The chains are too tough.
Peter goes batshit crazy in the chair.
He falls to the floor, but still, he is chained.
He struggles so desperately to move around…
His cell phone rings.
A happy chime against the dead misery of the room.
CUT TO BLACK.
EXT. GRAHAM HOUSE- 7 DAYS LATER- DAY
Cops knock on the front door.
Finally, they kick down the door.
INT. GRAHAM HOUSE – DAY – CONTINUOUS
Before entering the home, the cops catch a rotten whiff. With haste, they place their hands to cover their nose.
They almost trip over Peter’s dead body; He had been so close to the front door but never managed to escape.
They also see Annie’s body which had bled to death.
The cops examine Peter’s body.
CUT TO BLACK