Director Darren Aronofsky is known for creating disturbing films that leave viewers shaken, like Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream, but it's his newest movie that really has people talking. Mother! stars Jennifer Lawrence as a woman driven to madness by mysterious visitors to the home she shares with her husband (Javier Bardem)... at least that's what fans are led to believe it's about. However, the film's marketing has been very secretive, so it's hard to say what the film is about — save that it will be disturbing. But does that mean it's frightening, and if so, just how scary is mother!?
While the movie's marketing has been a bit dodgy when it comes to the actual plot, it hasn't minced words when it comes to the film's supposed impact. The theatrical trailer currently running with It — a legit horror film — attempts to sell the movie as a terrifying, life-altering, one-of-a-kind cinematic experience. The trailer uses language like "you'll never forget where you were the first time you saw mother!" and "you'll never be the same after you witness mother!" and even makes a plea to theater-goers to exit their seats immediately and go out to the box office to buy their tickets ahead of time. This certainly sells the film as an event and as something different, but that doesn't necessarily make it scary.
The film's trailer certainly does have the look of a horror film though, with an unnerving screechy score, disturbing imagery, lots of quick cuts, and Jennifer Lawrence basically looking terrified throughout as she tries to figure out just what is going on as her surroundings become nonsensical and threatening. And while it's possible this is all a massive misdirect, it seems far more likely that the movie is a horror film — at least on some level. While the trailer doesn't make it clear whether or not what's happening on screen is really happening, if it's just in Lawrence's head, or if it's some kind of metaphor, it does indicate that it will be frightening to watch it all unfold on screen; whatever it is.
The movie also isn't shying away from horror film comparisons. The film's poster is modeled directly after the poster for Rosemary's Baby, something that initially led some to believe that the movie was a remake of the 1968 psychological horror classic. And while that's not the case, the two movies do seem to have similar themes of a doting married woman being driven to madness by her struggling creative husband and his conspiring outsiders, with the added threat of a possible supernatural element.
The film has also been compared to another classic — and controversial — psychological horror film, A Clockwork Orange, with horror author Mylo Carbia tweeting about mother!: "It's crazy, gorgeous, violent, powerful... and will be the most controversial movie since A Clockwork Orange." This type of praise lends further credence to the idea that mother! will be the type of horror movie that sticks with you, like the classic works of Polansky and Kubrick, rather than a modern horror film that relies on cheap jump scares.
When you look at all the evidence, it really sounds like mother! will shock you, upset you, and yes, it will likely scare you, too.