Jennifer Lawrence plays the quiet, soft-spoken half of a couple who’s only interested in spending time with the other half of the relationship – Javier Bardem, but that time is abruptly intruded upon by strangers who constantly show up unannounced at their home. Tension builds as Jennifer just wants the strangers to leave – as any sane person would – but Javier only seems to welcome the strangers with open arms, disregarding her wishes. Although he does seem to care greatly for Jennifer, he also has a bad habit of trying to please everyone, which results in a conflict of feelings that build up inside Jennifer and later manifest into an explosive burst of fiery outrage. While that might not sound like the plot to a horror movie, trust me when I say it’s the most straight forward plot summary I can give you without giving away the metaphorical truth behind the film. Even if some don’t consider this a horror movie, you still have to admit this is one of the most tense, suspenseful thrillers ever made, rivaling even Rosemary’s Baby.
If you don’t want the movie to be spoiled or the meaning behind the film to be given away, then I suggest you stop reading now. I just watched this movie last night and I need to talk about it. When the film begins, we see Jennifer and Javier at their home when suddenly a man knocks on their door. The man explains he thought their house was a bed and breakfast and Javier invites him to stay the night. The next day, the man’s wife comes to their house, presumably having been invited by the man. The couple become infatuated by a crystal that Javier has on display in his office, and Javier gladly explains the crystal was a gift but that he doesn’t want them to touch it. Naturally, the couple wind up touching and breaking the crystal, which sends Javier into a yelling rage in which he tells the couple to leave. Instead of leaving, however, the couple’s two sons then show up at the house and the entire family begins having a loud argument in their living room. All the while, Jennifer is completely dumbfounded at the rude behavior of these strangers in her house. As it turns out, this is only the beginning of an absolutely chaotic series of events.
During the strange family’s argument, the two brothers get into a fight and one kills the other with a doorknob before fleeing the house. Javier takes the body of the dead brother and joins the strange man and woman to a trip to the hospital, leaving Jennifer to clean up the blood of the strange man who just died in their home. Naturally, she thinks the worst is over, but when Javier returns he lets her know the man and woman are coming back to their house to grieve for their dead son, and that they’re bringing some friends of the family with them. She puts up with all of this and displays the patience of a Saint while doing it, but seemingly every scene just pushes her one step closer to the edge of insanity. Eventually, Javier and Jennifer become pregnant and this inspires him to start writing again. After writing what appears to be only one page of text, everything begins to happen in rapid succession. He immediately becomes famous for his writings, people come from all over to get a glimpse of him, eventually bursting into their home by force after Javier tells them that he is willing to share everything of his with them. Meanwhile, Jennifer is absolutely in shock at the strangers now tearing things from their home.
Fed up with his bullshit, Jennifer tries to leave the house but is stopped by police breaking in through the windows in one room, a war breaking out in the next, terrorists executing people in another, and all the while she just wants to protect their unborn child. Javier eventually picks her up and they hide away in his office, where she gives birth to their child. Amazingly, Javier still doesn’t want the people to leave their house. They’ve had literally the worst things in the world happen at the hands of these strangers and he still doesn’t want them to leave because he believes they can be good people. Knowing this, Jennifer refuses to hand their baby to him, for fear of the dangerous strangers actions. After she falls asleep, Javier gives their newborn to the people – just literally hands it to them – and they all carry it across the crowd of hundreds of people. Jennifer loses her mind and tries to save their child, but it eventually is killed at the hands of the crowd. This scene was pretty graphic and you should prepare yourself before you watch it, because I’m not done. The crowd then proceeds to eat the baby in front of a now livid Jennifer Lawrence. She freaks out and starts killing anyone she can get her hands on, but this is stopped short by the crowd throwing her to the ground and beating the hell out of her. After being saved by Javier once again, she rushes to the basement, spills oil on the floor, drops a lighter and burns everyone in the house to the ground.
After everything is turned to char and ash, Javier rips open Jennifer’s chest and removes her heart, which breaks apart into the same crystal the strange couple destroyed at the beginning of the film. The house repairs itself and a new woman wakes up in bed, in place of Jennifer Lawrence. You might be scratching your head at this point, but I figured out what was going on as soon as Javier becomes so popular after writing one page of text. You see, this entire film was an awesome, gruesome representation of religion and its effect on our planet. Jennifer Lawrence represents mother Earth, Javier represents the Creator, the strange man and woman are Adam and Eve, and their sons, Cain and Abel. The crystal Javier told them to leave alone was the forbidden fruit, and he cast them out of the garden of Eden once they disobeyed him. His son, Christ, was given to humanity only to be killed and then devoured as the body of Christ. Each room of chaos represented different effects religion has had on the world – inciting terrorism, wars, famine, and greed. I can go on, but the religious imagery is just too interwoven into every scene and I insist you just watch the film and appreciate it for yourself.
The slow build and unique filmmaking style of Darren Aronofsky builds a tense setting that has you on the edge of your seat, waiting for Jennifer to inevitably snap. It’s not a horror in the conventional sense, but some scenes are horrific and it does have more suspense than I care to handle on a regular basis. It’s not appropriate for a Friday night movie with friends, but instead should be appreciated for its unique, brilliant imagery and originality. This is one of the best thrillers I’ve ever seen, and I highly recommend watching it.
This movie is…
It’s not your typical thriller, but it is unparalleled in its suspense.
Cheers and goodnight.