Mother of Tears (Myriad/The Weinstein Company, UR)

film_mother_sm.jpgMother of Tears is funnier than the past six Will Ferrell movies combined.








Oh boy! I’ve always wanted to begin a review with those words, and with Mother of Tears, I’ve finally found the perfect fit. Nearly 30 years late, Dario Argento, once the maestro of gialli and gothic horror during the 1970s, completes his Three Mothers trilogy, which began with his beloved Suspiria in ’77 and Inferno in ’80. And, yet, does he really? Mother of Tears bears no resemblance, except maybe in gore (of which there is plenty here), to anything Argento made during his heyday, calling into question, "Did Dario Argento really direct this piece of shit?" I asked myself the same question a few months ago after unsuccessfully trying to watch George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead, a wretched first-person zombie film that suggests a talentless film student doing his own Romero instead of the man himself.

Where did the beautiful cinematography, lush visuals and interesting cinema tricks go? In Mother of Tears, they’re been replaced by something that strangely resembles a made-for-TV movie or, at its worst, a Full Moon direct-to-video horror flick. Did Argento lose it or is he just letting someone else do the "tricks" for him? I could waste my time pondering or even lamenting what happened to such a fine director, but instead, I’ll just celebrate the emergence of a new Dario Argento, a man more concerned with hilarious absurdity and a sheer lack of class (not that he ever really exuded much) than effective horror.

While watching Mother of Tears I couldn’t help but think, "This is truly one of the worst films I’ve ever seen," but those thoughts were silenced by howling laughter, and I’m not embellishing. Mother of Tears is funnier than the past six Will Ferrell movies combined. Whether this exuberant hilarity is intentional or not doesn’t end up mattering, and whether it truly closes the long open-ended Three Mothers trilogy becomes oh-so-irrelevant. Check out Argento’s Masters of Horror episode "Jenifer" about a deformed, retarded cannibal girl alongside this and try to tell me you don’t love this new Argento.

The real casualty (sorry for the pun) of Mother of Tears though is Argento’s poor daughter Asia, who walks around the film embarrassed and confused, and, yes, willing to let her father film her naked (again). Through some familial obligation, she takes the lead role as an American art student who uncovers the third mother, acting as if she’s more concerned about reaching the finish line than caring about what’s surrounding her. As a side note, Asia’s mother, Daria Nicolodi, appears in the film as well, as Asia’s dead mother. With a proclivity for working with some of the most challenging filmmakers out there (Catherine Breillat, Olivier Assayas, Tony Gatlif, Bertrand Bonello), Asia’s presence here is almost tragic.

With an astounding new wave of Eurohorror emerging, from The Descent to Inside, I’d suggest it fine time for the old dudes to throw the towel in. However, I’ll keep that remark for whatever catastrophe Romero brings us next and leave Argento out of it. Although the gifted filmmaker who made attractive naked ladies look ravishing as they were being mutilated appears to be dead, behold the new Dario Argento, modern cinema’s brilliant humorist. | Joe Bowman

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