Sight and Sound - 06/01/2008
"Large-scale CGI-assisted set pieces combine with Sergio Stivaletti's old-style make-up effects, the latter pushing the splatter envelope even by Argento's standards."
Los Angeles Times - 06/06/2008
"[The film] reveals that the filmmaker's signature bravura flourishes and use of sinister settings are still intact. Asia Argento, the writer-director's daughter, always a striking, edgy presence, stars as a student..."
The third installment in Italian horror master Dario Argento's Three Mothers saga, THE MOTHER OF TEARS is a gruesome and long-awaited treat for horror fans. Completing a loosely knit trilogy that began with SUSPIRIA (1977) and continued with INFERNO (1980), the film sees the titular witch awakening to unleash apocalyptic evil on Rome. A grisly and excessive hoot, this is one of the director's strongest efforts since the 1980s. After construction workers discover an ancient urn near a cemetery, it is sent to a Rome university where Sarah Mandy (Asia Argento, daughter of the director) is an art history student. Shortly after opening the urn, Sarah's associate is brutally murdered (in an frighteningly creative manner) by a mysterious being who also unleashes an evil monkey in the halls of the school. Sarah escapes to tell the police, but they find her story implausible. Soon, though, it becomes apparent that a tidal wave of evil is washing over the city as a serious of excessively violent crimes is committed. Matters are worsened when the international black magic community--aware that the urn has unleashed Mater Lachyrmarum, The Mother of Tears--begins to descend upon a chaotic Rome in droves.
Within its first 10 minutes, MOTHER OF TEARS features a woman being strangled by her own intestines, and continues with well-paced shocks from that point on. As in TRAUMA (1993) and THE STENDHAL SYNDROME (1996), Argento has no reservations about putting his always-game daughter though virtual hell on screen. While featuring none of the candy-colored lighting that made SUSPIRIA and INFERNO such surreal nightmares, this is still a rock-solid horror film with more originality and loony energy than a dozen SAWs or FINAL DESTINATIONs, proving that the nearly 70-year-old Argento still has the knack that won him legions of fans.