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Movie Name: Mother of Tears
Studio: Film Commission Torino-Piemonte
Release Date(s): September 6, 2007
MPAA Rating: R
A sealed box from an unmarked grave is opened by Sarah Mandy (Asia Argento) and a museum curator. When creatures come for the contents of the box, Sarah finds herself being hunted. Madness begins to take hold of Rome, and murder and attacks occur all over the city. Sarah learns that her family has magic ability, and her mother’s spirit is watching over her. Sarah learns that Mater Lachrymarum (Moran Atias) also known as the Mother of Tears has regained her power and wants Sarah.
Directed by Dario Argento, Mother of Tears (or La Terza Madre or Mother of Tears: The Third Mother) is the long awaited finale to Three Mothers Trilogy. It was preceded by Susperia in 1977 and Inferno in 1980. It was met with mix reviews but generally positive.
The movie is kind of unbalanced and crazy, but has a creepy, fun feel to it. Despite taking over twenty-five years to be made, the movie has some of the feel of Argento’s older pieces, especially when considering the madness taking over Rome. Dario pulls no punches, babies get chucked off bridges, and people become walking fireballs of death. There is some gory, shock value attached to the movie that makes you want to see what will come next.
The look is good, but it does lack the really bold feel of Susperia which was lit by bright over saturated reds (Inferno was less so, but still bright). There are a few scenes, but nothing compared to the style of the previous films. That makes it hard to be watched as a trilogy since this film looks radically different than previous films.
The Three Mothers thing really develops in this version. The Mother of Tears was briefly seen in Inferno (played by Ania Pieroni in the music hall scene), but it really expands it here. The other Mothers stories are told, but also the movie doesn’t feel as complete as something like Susperia which was a self-contained story. Mater Lachrymarum, Mater Suspiriorum, and Mater Tenebrarum, for all their power, go out like chumps.
Like Susperia and Inferno, I felt like the film ended on a bit of a downer note (though I was happy to see that evil monkey squashed). The movie really builds the horror. After meandering a bit at the beginning, it feels like Sarah is out of luck as the evil begins to close in on her (and the police also search for her). This gets pretty tense with the city going mad under Mater Lachrymarum. When Sarah finally confronts Mater Lachrymarum, she isn’t very scary and Sarah just burns her cloak thing. This causes an earthquake, Mater Lachrymarum’s death and a dull anticlimactic ending to a trilogy.
Mother of Tears and the Three Mothers Trilogy are worth seeking out. As most will say, Susperia is the best of the films, but I think I enjoyed Mother of Tears a bit more than Inferno. All three have a strange feel and are different than many American films you will find.