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Thursday, April 10, 2008
La Terza Madre (2007)
Dario Argento's Suspiria is rightly considered to be one of the essential horror films. It is an atmospheric, supernatural tale of dark sorcery, made memorable by gore, the dream-like quality of the sets, and the brilliant score by the Goblins. The story of the three ancient witches, begun in Suspiria with Mater Suspiriorum (Mother of Sighs), is continued in Inferno. This sequel, which revolves around Mater Tenebrarum (Mother of Darkness), is ultimately less memorable than its predecessor, thought it's a worthy follow-up with much of the same feel: a sense of unease, a forbidding aura of nightmarish evil.
The last installment of Argento's Three Mothers trilogy, La Terza Madre, does not form a cohesive whole with its prequels. Gone are the stylistic touches that made the first two films so otherworldly, to be replaced instead with intense violence, choppy flow of scenes, and questionable uses of CGI. Mater Lacrymarum (Mother of Tears) is set up as the most sinister of the three and even appears in Inferno as a seductive, malevolent vision, but at no point in La Terza Madre does her sheer maleficence manifest itself. And the final confrontation between her and heroine Sarah Mandy (Asia Argento) is as disappointing as the rest of the movie, in that, just like the film as a whole, there was so much wasted potential. The film starts off with a very dark, demonic feel to it, and the next few sequences (i.e., the first murder at the museum) are sufficiently mesmerizing, but then it becomes an overlong, sometimes dragging trip through confusing plot-lines and gratuitous gore. It's no Suspiria, nor even an Inferno. Still, it has some nice Argento touches, and it finishes one of the most interesting horror mythologies used in cinema, so it's recommended viewing. At least for Argento fans.