Starring: Asia Argento, Cristian Solimeno, Adam James, Udo Kier
It seems like Argento fans have been waiting forever for him to complete his “Three Sisters” trilogy and many thought it would never happen. There were only three years between SUSPIRIA and INFERNO, but it took another twenty-eight before the trilogy would be completed by his latest film, THE MOTHER OF TEARS.
Co-scripted by American screenwriters Jace Anderson and Adam Gierasch, the duo behind the the re-imagining of TOOLBOX MURDERS and Tobe Hooper’s MORTUARY, the film follows Sarah Mandy (Asia Argento) as a world of chaos erupts around her after the unearthing of a ancient urn which awakens the titular character. Any Argento fan will appreciate the many cameos from the likes of Udo Kier, Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni and Daria Nicolodi. A soundtrack by Claudio Simonetti and effects by Sergio Stivaletti ain’t all that bad either. Plus the Mother of Tears wanders around completely naked for the entire film. All of these elements on paper would make most genre fans blow their load. All these elements in the final product up on screen will make most genre fans want to blow their brains out. The film’s story line is completely ridiculous and is riddled with plot holes. Its attempt at humour ends up coming off as too goofy and all of the actors involved seem aware of its shortcomings and deliver sub-par performances. Even the two surviving characters have a good laugh after they escape from the whole mess, as if sensing how the audience feels throughout the entire film. It might just be me but defeating an evil spirit by removing her top and burning it seems a little… how do you say… fucking idiotic!
It’s my own fault, though. I had already been greatly disappointed by almost everything the man has done since TWO EVIL EYES so I don’t know why I expected more. Like most fans, I think I was hoping that this one might just find the maestro back in true form. If we really take a close look at the last twenty years of Argento’s career, though, we all should have realized what to expect. TRAUMA was uninspiring, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA was laughable, and STENDHAL SYNDROME was way too over the top. Things looked up with SLEEPLESS but that train quickly derailed and killed everyone on board when THE CARD PLAYER was released. I think we are way too forgiving when it comes to the “Greats”. People expected and said good things about LAND OF THE DEAD but would we still consider it a good film if it was the exact same movie directed by someone else? Probably not.
It is sad to think that a great cinematic career can actually have a shelf life and maybe guys like Argento are quickly becoming the Rolling Stones of genre cinema. Most new films from the “Masters of Horror” are getting lopped into that category of “Well I probably should see it since it is directed by so-and-so,” instead of the once familiar and highly regarded category of “Holy fuck, I have to see so-and-so’s new film.” I don’t want to have to suggest a good old fashioned LOGUN’S RUN kind of mentality when it comes to aging directors, but sometimes it’s best for everyone involved to just take that old dog out back and put it out of its misery before it bites little Sally on the throat and ruins everybody’s Canada Day weekend… again!