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Why Darren Aronofsky’s mother! Scared the Hell Out of Me

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Beware. Just to get it out of the way, the following article will go into MAJOR SPOILERS for Darren Aronofsky’s mother!

If you haven’t seen the film, this isn’t a review. This is more of a (slightly) in-depth analysis of the new movie (wait, don’t run off just yet) starring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer. And it features a whole lot of truth-telling on my part.

So let’s get to it.

To begin, I’m not an easy guy to frighten. And truth be told mother! didn’t really scare me. At least not to a crazy degree. What the movie did do, however, was made me all but have a full-blown anxiety attack.

In this post, I’m going to let you guys into a few small dark secrets of mine. They’re not major issues (thank God) but I do have a tendency to be a bit neurotic about certain things. Paranoias and whatnot.

First, I’m kind of a shut-in. Case in point, I was invited to a party this weekend. Nope. I’d rather stay in and avoid larger groups of people. I was also asked to go see Star Wars: The Last Jedi (three times) and turned down the offers. One of my buddies even said he would pay for my ticket. But still, I said no.

It seems as if I tread a very fine line of agoraphobia (aka the fear of large groups of people). And with all due respect to those who do suffer from this condition, I think quite a few people out there have more than mild symptoms of the issue.

And those people will be terrified of mother!

The movie started off simple enough, with me having a general good time wondering if the film was going to fall on the love it or hate side of the spectrum for me. Simple stuff.

But it was around the time that Michelle Pfeiffer showed up that my anxiety started to creep up. Small bouts here and there. Nothing major. In fact, you could have called the anxious feeling I was experiencing a mere symptom of just hating her character so much. Hate is a strong word. A better way to put it might simply be “f*ck that snobby bitch.”

Anyhow, I was doing okay, and my social anxieties were only slightly piqued by this point. But then the brothers showed up. You know the two. The one guy from Ex Machina and (evidently) his real-life brother – both who are the sons of Brendan Gleeson of Mr. Mercedes and Mad-Eye Moody from Harry Potter.

Now I’m not going to go into the allegorical aspects of the film, such as how these brothers were Cain and Abel from, you know, the Bible. That’s not what scared, or interested me.

As we all know – because all of us here have seen the film – when the sons show up into the mix things quickly go from bad to worse. Voice are raised (which is all it takes for my fight or flight response to kick in), and then, sure enough, seemingly random brutal violence erupts.

My main reaction to the film after this point was “You see what happens?!” I felt like John Goodman in The Big Lebowski for most of the running time after that sequence endless shouting at the screen, “You see what happens, Larry?! Do you SEE what happens, Larry?!”

This is why I get freaked out when people ask me to throw a party at my house. Nope. Why not? For years previous to this weekend I’d have a hard time explaining my anxiety. Now I have mother! to point to. “Want to have a party?” Nope. “Why not?” Watch mother!.

I’m not saying that I have a conscious fear that if I throw a party at my house the full history of the world is going to play out in uber pretentious fashion. Not at all. What I am afraid of subconsciously is the “What if?” of the situation.

What if they riot? What if they all turn against me?

Or maybe it was the control freak in me. The slightly OCD side. Case in point, when the baby was killed I didn’t think, “Oh, that’s horrible a baby got killed.” No, I didn’t think that. I’ve seen A Serbian Film. I can take a broken baby neck.

What freaked me out about that scene though was just wanting to strangle Javier Bardem right along with Mother as all I could think was “I knew it! I knew this would happen! I can’t have a baby without people wanting to hold it and not be gentle enough with it! Arrgh!”

Again, this article is me letting you guys into some of my crazier tendencies.

What made it all so bad was that all of the intruders were not only welcomed into the house, they were constantly pardoned by the man of the house over and over again until it was too late. Even worse still is that the horde didn’t enter the house for the simply evil reason of tearing it down, beating and/or killing Jennifer Lawrence, or killing and eating her baby.

No, this horde was welcomed into the house, and it was just their blatant disrespect of all things belonging to other people (that they all feel they should own a piece of as well) that turned the masses into the film’s villainous looters.

Movies that feature evil people breaking into a home don’t scare me too bad. Just shoot the sons of bitches, right? But mother! was more “realistic” in people’s selfish intentions, and thus more horrifying. People will tear you apart in large groups just because they are selfish and faceless. The movie just ups the metaphor to panic-inducing degrees.

I swear, I like people. Just not large groups of them. In my house.

The film reminded me a lot of the feeling of pure dread and paranoia I had while watching George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead for the first time. But the panic Darren Aronofsky’s mother! inspired was a little bit worse and a little bit better than NOTLD.

I’ll explain: It was worse because the people flooding this house were all sentient beings with real agendas, such as hooking up wherever they could, trying to hit on me and my girlfriends, stealing shite or going carelessly into areas of my home (my world) that I don’t want people in. Strangers or not.

What made it a lesser Night of the Living Dead was the pretentious, arty aspects. We get it, this is about mother nature and humans ruining her paradise.

The movie should have taken a step back from that angle and made it a little less clear-cut. When my dumbass friend (we’ll call him Brian) can watch the film and say it was about the rape of mother nature, Aronofsky should know that he missed his mark.

But had the film been dialed back a bit (a lot) and played as a simple, “Why did all of those people do that to her house?” It would have preserved the anxiety of the flick.

Now all of that said, is mother! a good movie?

Meh.

I enjoyed it on multiple levels from the technical proficiencies that are a given with an Aronofsky film, to the performances which are more than solid all around. But I cannot think of a person on this Earth I could recommend the film to. Not one.

But that said, there isn’t one person on Earth I’d be surprised to hear loved it and/or were terrified by it. The movie plays with fears and paranoas most people don’t talk about on the surface. So you never know who this movie might hit like a battering ram.

Yes, many people will watch mother! and be more than a little confused and more than a lot pissed off. But those out there that mother hits, it will hit them hard. For better or worse.

Now, if you’ll excuse me. I have to go board up my windows.

***

What did you think of Darren Aronofsky’s mother!? Let us know below!

The film is written & directed by Darren Aronofsky and stars Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, Brian Gleeson, Domhnall Gleeson, and Ed Harris.

BUY IT HERE!

Synopsis:

A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence. From filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream), mother! stars Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer in this riveting psychological thriller about love, devotion, and sacrifice.

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