When it comes to film franchises, I believe it’s best to be a completist. Sometimes however, it might lead to a film night of disappointment. That was certainly the case with The Mother Of Tears, Dario Argento’s final installment in the ‘three mothers’ trilogy. Although it’s true his recent works are a far cry from his earlier filmography, this one seemed to lack everything that Suspiria and Inferno had. It didn’t even seem like his vision, and more of a poor imitation of other lackluster works, that have come out in recent years.
The first thing I noticed, was the complete lack of atmosphere. Unlike the other two previous entries, this one was bland, lifeless and lacking. The tri-color cinematography he had previously utilized, are nowhere to be found. It has the same type of feeling, that a light night, made for TV movie might have. Both of the first two entries, had a supernatural aura about them. This helped build suspense, that kept you interested, from the first moment to the last. At times I found my interest waning, even wondering when it was all going to be over with.
As for the films visual effects, they felt lazy, rushed, and sometimes even laughable. The mother of tears herself, is played by Israeli supermodel Moran Atias. Who, I should add, is the most unconvincing witch I’ve ever seen on film. Walking around clad in only a sequined red vest, is hardly befitting a leader of a coven, set to bring forth the end of the world. To quote film author Maitland Macdonough, “An apocalypse Barbie, is still just a Barbie.” Even the witches servants, have the appearance of strung out club kids, emerging from a late night dance club after last call.
The protagonist of the film, is played by Aregnto’s youngest daughter Asia. She’s been a staple of many of his more recent works, since Trauma. She does a decent job, considering the material she’s given to work with. When your scrips goes through 4 rewrites, in a 20 year period, there’s a chance a few things might get befuddled. Speaking of the Argento clan, Daria Nicolodi appears in a few key scenes. However, this is done with poor CGI effects, that just seem laughable. We’re also graced by a cameo by Udo Kier, who had a breif role in Suspiria, as a researcher of the occult.
While I’m on the subject, that was another downgrade for this one. The needless references to Suspiria. Several times, Suzy Bannion is brought up, as the one who defeated the mother of sighs. Rather than attempt to let this film be it’s own product, were given shameless references to a film we should be watching. We’re even treated to a re-reading, of the same opening monologue from Inferno. Not that this could be identified as it’s own individual entity, but it still felt a bit pandering to the fan base.
In short, this was hard to watch. Not just because it was a lackluster effort, but because it comes from the Maestro himself. This is akin to having a favorite ball player, who works hard early on, only to let potential and talent become squandered. Dario Argento remains my favorite horror filmmaker, it’s films such as these that help me appreciate his earlier works, that much more.