It was a long time coming, but eventually director Dario Argento got around to completing his Three Mothers trilogy. The trilogy started with Suspiria (my all time favourite movie), and was followed by the impressive Inferno, and I have to admit that I was looking forward to the final entry. Of course, over recent years Argento has been off the boil and maybe his best movies are in the past, but hope springs eternal as they say. So, I went into this movie hoping for the best and expecting the worst.
The movie starts off with the discovery of an ancient casket in Rome. The casket is shipped over to a local museum where Sarah (Asia Argento) and her colleague foolishly decide to open it. Before you can swing a monkey all Hell breaks loose with the colleague being mercilessly ripped apart by unknown assailants.
Unbeknownst to them they have awakened the Mother of Tears, or Mater Lachrymarum, an evil bitch whose effects on the folk of Rome is devastating; mothers drown their babies, fights break out and general chaos ensues.
As luck would have it though Sarah's mother helped destroy one of the previous Mothers and passed some of her powers onto her. The Mother of Tears knows this and is all set on killing Sarah. At the same time, after some horrendous acting and a word from her mother in ghost form, Sarah realises that she needs to destroy the Mother of Tears before it is too late.
Firstly, I'll get this out of the way, some of the acting here is pretty damned bad, the story doesn't always make coherent sense and the ending is piss poor. But, and it is a big but (and I cannot lie) I really enjoyed this movie. I mean really enjoyed it. Visually it was terrific, with Argento at his goriest best, I don't think I have seen gore like this in one of his movies and at times it is quite shocking. Aside from that though the whole atmosphere of the movie is filled with an evil dread that seeps out of the screen. He may not do plots well, but boy can he create atmosphere.
Having Claudio Simonetti doing the score helped this no end, the closing theme with vocals by Dani Filth was just perfect.
There is an element of fanboy gushing about this review, but believe me I was ready to rip the guts out of it had it not lived up to at least some of my expectations, as I really do expect a lot from Argento. I can honestly say though that I thought this was a good movie. Sure, the acting wasn't good, looking at Asia makes up for it though. Also at times it seemed as though Dario was rushing from one scene to another, without giving the story enough time to develop properly.
On the whole though I thought this was a success. It's not anywhere near as good as Suspiria, but it is more accessible than Inferno. It'll probably not win him any new fans due to the confusing story, and doubtless piss off some of his older fans, but as a visual spectacle this was good stuff indeed. I'm looking forward to sitting through it again as I type.
Rating 3 stars
Review by Jude Felton