Mother of Tears

Viewed – 25 April 2008  DVD

Not many films are as long awaited as this.  In the late seventies and early eighties, Italian shock maestro Dario Argento proposed a trilogy of grizzly supernatural horror films, collaborating with his then-wife Daria Nicolodi to grand effect with the first two parts: the legendary ‘Suspiria’ and then to a lesser extent ‘Inferno’.  Yet until now that trilogy was never concluded, and many fans and horror aficionados thought the final film may never be made.

Yet now we have the final film before us, and the simplest thing I can say about it is that it delivers as a gory, stylish horror film; betters to some extent the slow-burning wierdness of Inferno, but fails to touch the brilliance of Suspiria.  Although that much was to be expected after such a hiatus, and the fact that the master himself Argento has not exactly been on form for some years.  In some respect I think he’s made this just to deliver on a promise.

Frequent collaborator Asia Argento plays a museum historian who stumbles upon an ancient urn and unknowingly releases the spirit of the Mother Of Tears, a beautiful but sadistic witch who brings on the second age of witches in modern day Rome, and violence fills the streets as people turn on each other and women congregate in the catacombs for the impending uprising.

Although the budget fails to realise the chaos this film tries to portray, the atmosphere and style create a foreboding and chilling experience choc-full of gore & nudity.  The murder set-pieces the director has become famous for are unflinching but lack some of the ‘beauty’ of his earlier work, and the film throughout doesn’t quite have the magical look of the others in the trilogy.  Saying that Argento’s eye for camera work is on great form, and Claudio Simonetti’s score is very effective.  On the acting front, as ever with a Dario Argento film, the dialogue is limp and the performances wooden (even Asia, who always seems amateurish in her Father’s films despite proving a credible actress in anything else).  Yet in the end this proves very entertaining, eerie and effective, even if it’s illustrious heritage singles it out as a bit of a disappointment.

Taken on its own merit though, this is a decent horror movie with plenty of personality.

Verdict:  3 /5

Further reading:

Michael Mackenzie’s much more detailed opinion over at DVD Times

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