Legendary horror filmmaker Dario Argento returns as writer and director, the man has definitely made a name for himself for his mischievous flair and touch of the macabre. "MOTHER OF TEARS: The Third Mother" is the supposed third installment in his “Three Mothers” trilogy which began with “Suspiria” and its follow up “Inferno”. Now, the question on everyone‘s mind; is it worth the wait after more than 2 decades?
When an ancient artifact becomes uncovered in an old cemetery, it proves to be the harbinger of doom. The murder of an art historian is just the beginning as Sarah Mandy (Asia Argento) is caught up in a frightening situation that she doesn’t have the knowledge to grasp. Sarah is pursued by forces beyond her understanding and she enlists the aid of museum specialist Michael Pierce but he proves ineffective. Amidst the widespread chaos that ensues in Rome, Sarah then approaches a local exorcist and even an alchemist for aid in hopes of uncovering the mystery of her mother and her connection to a coven of evil witches. Mother Lachrimarum (Moran Atias) has risen and plans to orchestrate the second fall of Rome unless Sarah can find her hidden power and stop this dark witch.
The Italian maestro of horror returns to his tale of witchcraft, chaos, evil and darkness. Part of me is very pleased that the legendary horror director had stepped up to finish his “witches” trilogy. After the very disappointing “The Card Player”, one wouldn’t be hard-pressed to think that he has lost his touch but thankfully, his “Masters of Horror” entry “Pelts” did have its moments and it gave hints that Argento still had it. Thankfully, @Dave79 have caused me to lower my expectations, nothing could compare to “Suspiria”, which is arguably Argento’s finest film, so I approached this film with an open mind. While “Mother of Tears” may somehow fit the trilogy, if you elevate your expectations, it may result in a timid laughter.
The film does start fairly strong. The discovered ancient artifact is an interesting enough concept although it is a hugely unoriginal one. Then again, what could past for a TRULY original horror film anyway these days? Sometimes I feel that Horror filmmaking may have already peaked and it shouldn’t be how original a horror film is but what the director does with a concept. The film does have a fair amount of blood and gore, in this unrated version, we get to see more gruesome deaths and nudity. Death by intestine strangling, literally screwing the mouth open, a spear driven to women’s vaginal areas, infant slaughter, impalements, all contribute to the film’s main draw: “Brutality”. Argento doesn’t hold back when it comes to these elements.
The plot elements does have potential. Sarah’s investigation into her past displayed a lot of ambition, accompanied by eerily creepy scenes mildly enhanced by CGI with the old-school blood and gore. I found some elements mildly interesting but unfortunately, I only felt like these scenes were only used to delay the film’s outcome. The proceedings didn’t exactly help the film’s resolution and I felt that it started running out of gas in the 45 minute mark. I also felt that the chaos caused by the supposed “rise” of Mother Lachimarum is severely underused. Where is the army when all these hinted wanton acts of violence, rape and murder is occurring? Some characters were merely plot devices, supporting characters were so unconvincing and once they served their purpose, you guessed it, they will suffer a grisly death. Some scenes were also too convenient.
The dialogue in the film feels a little too perfunctory for my tastes. It just proved too “card board” and it isn’t helped along by the casts’ very “robotic” acting. I also wondered whether the film was dubbed in English and was originally meant for another language. The so-called “Mother of Tears” was too underwhelming; after all the overlong dialogue and fact-finding, this is how she is finally overcame? I’m NOT spoiling anything, as you would know that the bad guy has to be beat. I have to admit that Moran Atias’ scenes of almost “very” nude may be worth the price of the dvd itself.
Ultimately, Dario Argento’s heart seems to be in the right place when he made this film. However, it was quite obvious that he was being held back due to the film’s measly budget. The blood, guts and gore were very nice to look at, (despite the fact it isn’t anything new) and the back story of the “Three Mothers” does tie up some loose ends. However, the film does feel that it came straight out of the Hollywood oven and made to fit more “mainstream” tastes. Still, the film is a decent dose of lusty, brutal fun that is a welcome change from all the horror remakes we’ve been plagued with of late. The film does feel quite ridiculous and rather rudimentary. But it’s very nice for fans of Dario Argento to witness that the horror legend can still dream up ludicrous mayhem and violent deaths.
Recommended Timidly, RENT it first [3 Out of 5 Stars]
Fans of Argento should delight in the fact that his Three Witches trilogy is finally completed with the recent opus Mother Of Tears. Sadly, this one has gotten a lot of mixed reviews but I rather enjoyed it despite it's flaws or shortcomings. I mean, 28 years is a longtime to wait for the conclusion but die-hard fans can surely forgive. A few things to remember. This isn't Suspiria. Nor is it Inferno. If you can get past that, you will probably have a … more