Reel Reviews: ‘Tag’ and ‘Hereditary’ – The LOAD phenomenon

By on June 20, 2018

It was an incredible weekend at the box office, but I was not one of the millions flocking to theatres to see “Incredibles 2.” I must admit, I never saw “The Incredibles.” I caught parts of the 2004 Disney hit here and there, but I’ve never sat down and watched the animated movie in its entirety. So, instead of opting for the sequel, I went and saw “Tag.”


Based on true events, “Tag” is the story of a group of grown men &tstr; “Hoagie” Malloy (Ed Helms), Reggie (LilRel Howery), Bob Callahan (Jon Hamm), “Chilli” Cilliano (Jake Johnson), and Jerry Pierce (Jeremy Renner) &tstr; who played a game of tag for 23 years. Every year during the month of May (February in real life) it was game on and players travelled the U.S. continuing to tag each other. At the end of the month whoever was “it” stayed “it” until the next commencement of activities. Friends tagged each other at funerals, in disguise, and sometimes with their spouses acting as accomplices.

The story was documented by journalist Russell Adams (portrayed by Annabelle Wallis as Rebecca Crosby) in the Wall Street Journal and the movie ties loosely into real facts. “Tag” is a fun movie with a potentially great homage to Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes conducted by the action star hands of Renner. But the key word in this synopsis is potentially.

I think I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in movies and “Tag” is victim to this phenomenon. Filmmakers lately are just mailing it in &tstr; or, at least they are just rushing parts of movies that, with a little extra work, could make the entire whole a much better, more enjoyable, memory-making movie. Several scenes (and jokes) just fall flat. It’s an overall Lack Of Attention to Detail &tstr; hereby to referred to as LOAD.

Director Jeff Tomsic is coming from a TV background (“Idiotsitter,” “The Detour”) and it is all too obvious as this movie almost feels like it was made for commercial breaks.

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” This is the mantra of the main characters in “Tag,” who have been playing the same childish game for 23 years straight.


I heard about “Heredity” on NPR, which gave a warm description of the movies pitch to production companies. The movie, a tale of demonic summoning and possession, was not sold as a horror, rather as a psychological expedition dealing with the death of loved ones.

“Hereditary” is a prime example of the LOAD phenomenon. This movie starts off great. I mean, halfway through I was envisioning singing its praises as a heady, quietly terrifying film that only comes around every few years. The suspense was driving &tstr; slow, but driving. The horror was creepy and had my mind racing. “Hereditary” had a subtle cinematic beauty reminiscent of 1970s European films where certain scenes could stand alone on their aesthetic beauty. But, alas, this movie goes completely off the rails and by the end becomes a what-did-I-just-watch train wreck.

The most common response online is the ability of “Heredity” to have audiences laughing, when surely this was not the intent. If it was, that in itself is a fail. I saw the movie in an otherwise empty theater and I still couldn’t wipe the look of disbelief off my face at the end. I felt I had to make some sort of comment to the theater attendant who walked in to clean between screenings.

“Well, that was bizarre,” I said.

She just laughed. Even if she hadn’t seen the movie she would probably feel the same way if she entered during the final scenes pocked with middle-aged nude figures distracting the story.

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