Craig’s review published on Letterboxd:
Following the success of Suspiria, Dario Argento gives us the second entry in his “Three Mothers” trilogy, it never reaches the heights of its predecessor but is still a solid film in it’s own right.
Suspiria never gave us much background on the witches, Udo Keir’s character gives minimal insight near the climax but Inferno will dive deeper into their mythos of the witches. We find out early on there are three of them: Mater Suspiriorum - The Mother of Sighs from Suspiria, Mater Tenebrarum - The Mother of Darkness and main witch in this film, and Mater Lachrymarum - The Mother of Tears who will be the main antagonist of the film of the same name Argento released in 2007 but also makes an appearance in this film. We learn that each witch has their own home built for them by an alchemist named Varelli in three locations: Freiburg (the setting of Suspiria), Rome, and New York - the latter two appearing in this film.
The film starts by following a character named Rose who is living in an apartment building in New York that she believes is the dwelling places of one of the Three Mothers. She writes to her brother Mark in Rome. The film follows their separate investigations into the secret of the Three Mothers and will end with a confrontation with Mater Tenebrarum.
Argento tries to recreate the stylistic choices he made in Suspiria with similar color palette’s in the home of Mater Tenebrarum but other then that tones down the excessive brightness of the previous film. There are plenty of decent kills but to me the highlight of the film and one of my favorite moments of any Argento film is the final confrontation in the final minutes. It looks so damn cool and I will not give anything away.
After collaborating with the Italian progressive rock band for his last two films he takes a break from them and has the film scored by the one and only legendary progressive rock keyboardist Keith Emerson of the band Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. The score is phenomenal with plenty of synthesizers and the organ.
I enjoy that this film gives more of a story to the witches introduced in Suspiria even if the kills do not live up to the first entry. One massive mistake Argento makes is not making the final film in his trilogy in this era. The Mother of Tears can live up to these two films partially because of when it was made. Argento will go back to his beloved giallo sub genre following this film with his classic Tenebrae (which you think would of been the title of this film since it has Mater Tenebrarum, but they are unrelated).
One final note: compare the fire used in this film to his final film Dracula and you will become very depressed.