Ann Hornaday, staff writer for the Washington Post, lambasted Dario Argento’s Mother of Tears: The Third Mother and Sturart Gordon’s Stuck saying that she “didn’t get” either one and further calling the movies “sheer torture” to watch.
Of Mother of Tears (the third in a series by Argento) she said “I don’t get why, in Mother of Tears, I’m supposed to find some kind of taboo thrill in watching a young woman being strangled by her own intestine. I don’t get that Argento can write some of the most wooden dialogue and elicit some of the most risible performances to be seen in a movie (think The Da Vinci Code with an even more cockamamie mythology), but still get credit as some kind of auteur because of the ingenious weapon he creates to impale two eyeballs at once.” “To the inevitable defense that Argento’s work is simply camp, I would say that anything this aggressively hateful forfeits the right to be called camp. As Susan Sontag rightly observed, even camp at its most outlandish reveals some truth about the human condition.”
Of Stuck Hornaday said “Compared to the myriad perversions on display in Mother of Tears (culminating in the film’s star, Argento’s daughter Asia, almost drowning in a sea of sewage and cadavers — grazie, papa!), the degradations of the flesh in Stuck look almost endearingly modest.” “Although Gordon clearly has something to say about poverty, class mobility and throwaway lives, whatever substance might have oozed through Stuck is quickly stanched, to let flow the blood, gore and attempts at erotic humor (a catfight between Suvari and a naked rival played for laughs).”
In closing Hornaday said “There are things to value in Stuck, including the lead and supporting performances, and Gordon’s taut thriller-like pacing. But, like Mother of Tears, I don’t get it. I don’t get what fascinates Gordon and Argento — both men in their 60s — about thinking up new ways to inflict pain. I don’t get what’s “ingeniously nasty” about watching people suffer and die. I don’t get the “gonzo artistry” of murdering a woman by way of a symbolic rape with a sword. I don’t get why that’s entertaining, edifying, endorsed by the cinematic canon or even remotely okay.”
Stuck, rated R opened Friday May 30 and Mother of Tears, unrated opened Friday June 6.