Review: "Mother of Tears"

Renowned Italian horror director Dario Argento's Three Mothers trilogy began back in 1977 with the classic Suspiria, and continued with Inferno in 1980. Now, 28 years later, the trilogy concludes with Mother of Tears.

Subtitled The Third Mother, Mother of Tears opens as an ancient urn is discovered buried in Rome, that once opened reawakens the evil Mother of Tears, a witch bent on chaos and destruction, which follows her wherever she goes.

Asia Argento, the director's daughter, stars as Sarah Mandy, a museum worker who unwittingly opens the urn, and is saddled with the task of destroying the Mother of Tears. As it turns out, Mandy has special powers of her own she never knew about, inherited from her mother who was killed by the Mother of Sighs in Argento's Suspiria.

As Mandy gets ever closer to the Third Mother, Rome begins to fall apart around her, as the witch's minions descend on the city to celebrate the return of their evil leader.

It's curious that Argento waited so long to finish his trilogy, because it's not exactly striking while the iron is hot. Because in Mother of Tears, it is next to impossible to detect the brilliance that once distinguished one of horror's grand masters.

It starts off promisingly enough (with some genuinely shocking imagery), but soon descends into a big, bloody mess. Argento's flair for horrifically gruesome deaths is intact, but the script is atrocious and the acting is just as bad. Though I doubt anyone could have made dialogue this ridiculous sound good.

I kept waiting for it to get better, for the master to show himself and put modern American horror films to shame, but he never does. Mother of Tears is stuck with a lame plot that makes little sense and gives little reason to care. It's chaotic, unfocused, and jaw-droppingly nonsensical, with no respect for continuity or story integrity. In fact it's so laughably bad thatI felt like I was watching an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. The film is so inept and so lacking in basic filmmaking quality that it's almost unbelievable that it was directed by someone who is so respected for being a master in his field.

Some may say that it's pure camp, which by the time we reach the ludicrous, witch-orgy finale, it is, but this isn't Rocky Horror style camp, this is a filmmaker taking inanity way too seriously, with a some of the worst performances I have ever seen on screen.

Mother of Tears is a goofy, bumbling effort without the basic decency to know how bad it is.

GRADE - ½ star (out of four)

MOTHER OF TEARS; Directed by Dario Argento; Stars Asia Argento, Cristian Solimento, Adam James, Moran Atias, Valeria Cavalli, Daria Nicolodi, Udo Kier; Not Rated


Anonymous said…

I still want to see it, even if it is a waste of time.

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