I’ve seen a 2018 horror film about a troubled family. And it’s a thrilling crowd-pleaser, full of suspense and heart. Scary but not too scary, violent but not too violent, with lovable characters everyone can root for. Everyone’s gonna like it. Fun for the whole family!

That movie is called “A Quiet Place,” and it opened about two months ago.

“Hereditary,” opening this weekend, is not that. It’s vile. An emotionally abusive and ingeniously cruel film — a cinematic masterclass in making you feel bad about everything forever.

You could accurately call the movie “scary.” (It’s the scariest movie of the year by default.) But a better word for “Hereditary” — the stunning debut feature of writer/director Ari Aster — is traumatizing.

The film features images you’ll wish you could unsee, plumbs emotions you’ll wish you could unfeel. It has maybe the worst death in any movie ever and the second-worst death, too.

It’s a Satanic jack-in-the-box horror- show, but one grounded in the white-hot terror of everyday human suffering.

This review is less a recommendation (although it is also a recommendation, a strong one) than it is a dare.

“Hereditary” possesses the power to ruin your life for a little while, in the way only the best and most evil horror movies can.

What is it?

“Hereditary” is a brutally effective fusion of a few recent trends in independent and studio horror movies.

It comes from A24, the uber-cool distributor behind the well-reviewed scary movies “The Witch” and “It Comes at Night.”

But “Hereditary” is more approachable than either of those movies, splitting the difference between the more challenging arthouse horror movies and recent old-fashioned studio successes like James Wan’s excellent “Conjuring” films.

It’s the best of both worlds (or the worst, depending on your inclinations): It’s a brilliant piece of filmmaking with a lot on its mind that doesn’t forget to deliver the genre goods.

What’s it about?

The Graham family has just lost grandma Ellen, a strange and secretive woman who suffered from dissociative identity disorder near the end of her life.

Ellen’s daughter, Annie (Toni Collette, in an Oscar-worthy performance), is guiltily relieved that her awful mom is gone. Annie’s children — pothead high-schooler Peter (Alex Wolff) and unnervingly bizarre tween Charlie (Milly Shapiro) — are mourning in their own weird ways. Annie’s husband, Steve (Gabriel Byrne), remains a level-headed source of calm who keeps his emotionally fragile family functioning (he’s a psychologist, which comes in handy).

There’s just something off about this family. About the uncanny but beautiful country home where they live. About the way that strangers look at them. About the mysterious words and symbols scrawled on their surroundings.

Charlie is an especially odd child, prone to compulsively clucking her tongue, decapitating dead birds and seeing fiery visions of her late grandmother.

Something bad happens to the Grahams. Like all-timer bad. Run-from-the-theater bad. Why-am-I-watching-this bad. Something made all the more horrifying for how plausible it seems.

The Grahams unravel, particularly Annie, whose family had a history of mental illness even in the best of times.

Annie makes a friend named Joan (Ann Dowd). Joan has ulterior motives (never trust a character played by Ann Dowd).

The supernatural elements creep into the film slowly — late-night visions, bumps in the night. Gradually, we graduate to seances, possessions, spontaneous combustion and, finally, a bloody, bawdy bacchanal of intertwining plot threads and artfully severed heads.

Why it’s special

Aster’s script isn’t especially original. It’s reminiscent, if not derivative, of other good horror movies, as recent as “The Babadook” and “Kill List” and as classic as “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Shining.”

The movie loses its sense of place (and pace) a bit in the middle stretch, its characters wandering around a labyrinth of dread while they wait for the finale to arrive.

Minor grumbles aside, “Hereditary” is still one of the best horror movies in a very long time, thanks to the skill of its craft and the uncompromising boldness of its misery.

1. It goes places that most movies, even horror movies, are too afraid to go. The devil stuff is fun, in an awful sort of way, but “Hereditary” is just as interested in real-life horrors. The film’s characters are consumed with grief and guilt, fearful of inheriting the mental illness that runs in the family.

Aster films his perfectly cast cast in long takes, pushing them (especially Collette and Wolff) into performances that exist somewhere between acting and nervous breakdown.

2. The filmmaking is unbelievably assured for a debut feature. Aster makes images that sear themselves into the brain. And unlike a lot of directors, he’s able to integrate his aesthetics into the ideas of the movie.

For instance, the film’s opening shot pans around a dollhouse and slowly moves into a room, where we find the Graham family going about their day.

Annie is an artist of miniature dioramas, and time and time again, Aster keeps us guessing as to what we’re seeing. Is it the family’s house or one of Annie’s models? There’s just something wrong about the interiors and exteriors of the house itself. Something too planned, too manicured.

The visuals offer a devilish parallel to the film’s plot and subtext: That the Grahams are little more than the pawns in a perfectly controlled environment. Dolls in a dollhouse run by an unseen entity. Ignorant of and powerless against the hidden forces that run their lives and unable to stop the dreaded fate that awaits us all.

Anyways, have a good time at the movies this weekend.