We’re finally getting to meet Mother! – Darren Aronofsky’s highly anticipated, mysterious horror film which stars Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris. Like the rest of the Academy Award nominee’s filmography, Aronofsky’s Mother! is not something that can be easily encapsulated, beyond the fact that it’s a work that ‘s allegorical in nature. What we can say, though, is that the film is, at its most fundamental level, a home invasion tale.
The fact that Darren Aronofsky has chosen the home invasion premise as the launch point for his narrative here is at once challenging and fascinating – challenging, because it’s a very familiar sub-genre whose stories can easily fall into predictability; fascinating, because with this choice, we can go into the movie knowing that this master storyteller is going to be playing on our darkest fears in order to get his point across. That is, after all, the primary function of the home invasion setting.
It’s unsurprising that the home invasion tale has risen through the ranks of successful tropes to become such a popular setting for film. After all, it’s a highly versatile premise that’s been shown to lend itself just as easily to comedy and melodrama as science fiction and horror. It’s also a premise that’s logistically favourable in terms of production.
But, for the audience, the idea begs some exploration – why, after hundreds of variations on this theme, are we still so enamoured of the home invasion story? It is, undoubtedly, the particular combinations of ‘buttons’ it allows the filmmakers to push within us, before they even begin to layer on the points of their own story. We like to be scared, and we like to be challenged – and where better to experience those things than in the familiar surroundings of home?