Being the second installment in the Three Mothers Trilogy after Suspiria, Inferno has some enormous shoes to fill. Unfortunately I don't think any Argento film will ever affect me the same way that Suspiria did, but Inferno certainly has it's moments.
Inferno delves further into the story of the Three Mother's quoting from an old book, giving details about what each sister or mother looks like and where they live. We find that Mater Tenebrarum the Mother of darkness- is the cruelest of the three- The Mother of Tears is the most beautiful (obviously since she has to walk around naked all the time), and The Mother of Sighs is the oldest of the three. So for half of the movie we follow Sarah around, a girl living in New York who discovers that the building where she lives may be harboring some dark secrets. Once she kicks the bucket- her brother Mark comes to New York after receiving a letter from Sarah. Soon Mark becomes caught up in the same dark secrets and is left to rid the world of the 2nd Mother.
Now first off, I want to say that what I love the most about Inferno, is that it creates a very similiar nightmarish- environment that Suspiria did. I don't know if it's just me- but I used to have these dreams where I would discover a whole other, undiscovered part of a house. The undiscovered part would seem to stretch on forever and around every corner that I took I felt myself get more and more anxious. This is exactly how I felt during most of Inferno. That scene in the beginning where Sarah discovers the underwater ballroom- is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. There's just something so eerie and beautiful about it that it just makes my head spin. More nightmarish than beautiful- but equally awesome to me is when Mark discovers the way into the secret floor of the building. I just can't put my finger on it but those two scenes really wowed me. I'm sure it harkens back to my old dreams but those two scenes always make me wonder why Inferno isn't talked about more...
And then I remember a few things. The character of Mark is boring and extremely uninteresting. Nothing he does makes me worry for his safety and I almost wish Sarah had just stayed the principle character. The movie also at times tend to get a bit slow, deaths aren't as exciting and creative as they were in Suspiria- and any characters we grow attached to seem to kick the bucket shortly after. OH and also, a mean old man drowns a bunch of cats in a bag (!!) and the ending reveal of the Mother of Darkness is one of the most laughable I have ever witnessed. Maybe I'll spice things up later and show a picture of her.
Now this isn't to say I don't like Inferno- because if anything, another viewing of this movie has turned me onto the fact that I really appreciate this movie more than I thought I did. Nothing can really live up to Suspiria and in the case of The Mother of Tears sometimes you can crash bitterly like a baby being thrown over a bridge, but Inferno does a pretty swell job in my opinion. Another thing that tickled my fancy is that movie really stayed true to those same nightmarish colors we saw in Suspiria. There are instances of this crazy purple and pink kind of glow, and of course the signature blood red walls. I also loved the bloody handprint on the white curtains, and that one scene where that guy was spitting blood all over the place. The rat death scene is debatable- pretty gruesome but at the same time I'm always just too upset over the drowned cats to really give a shit.
Overall I think Inferno gets looked over a lot- but there are a lot of truly stunning things happening- as well as some truly awful things. If you haven't seen in this in a while I would suggest giving it another look. If you've never seen it- do not watch it right after a viewing of Suspiria or you'll just feel sad on the inside. And if you're going to watch it alone don't get too scared when this happens....
Ahhhh it's too scary I can't take it!! Rubber skeletons leave me alone!