We live in an age of remakes and reboots, and that is especially true in the horror genre. In the past 10 years alone, we have seen reboots of horror classics such as Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Evil Dead, Carrie, Fright Night and many more. Next up in the long line of remakes is Suspiria, a horror classic that was originally directed by Dario Argento in 1977. At the helm of this new version of Suspiria is Luca Guadagnino, the director who rose to superstardom in 2017 with the awards season fan-favorite, Call Me By Your Name. Leading the film are Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton, both of which have now worked with the director multiple times. With Call Me By Your Name, Guadagnino brought to a life a story filled with love and tenderness. He reminded us that love comes in the most unexpected ways. With Suspiria, however, he crafted a story so ruthless and macabre that you would never think it was directed by the same man.
Suspiria follows American dancer, Susie (Johnson), who arrives at a world-renowned dance company in Berlin in hopes of getting accepted into their program. Though she is not formally trained, Susie possesses natural talent for dance and gets admitted into the academy. Her arrival comes soon after the disappearance of dancer Patricia Hingle (Chloe Grace Moretz), and finds the academy to be in turmoil over it. Still, under the careful watch of Madame Blanc (Swinton), Susie begins her ascend to the top. The academy seems to be filled with sinister forces, however, and soon after her arrival Susie begins to have horrendous nightmares that worsen with each passing night. Despite the horror that seems to be hidden within the walls of the academy, Susie finds herself unable and unwilling to leave the academy.
In Suspiria, Guadagnino creates a world that looks absolutely gorgeous despite being filled with brutality. Each frame in this film offers something interesting to look at, though it isn’t always very obvious. When the time for horror comes, it does so in a way that manages to be both elegant and vicious at the same time. The film’s atmosphere is very dark and eerie, which is enhanced by Thom Yorke’s fantastic score. All of these things are held together by the very macabre dances that take place in the movie. The dancing is mesmerizing and very hard to look away from. There is a certain feeling of malevolence whenever someone dances that will make viewers feel uneasy, as if something terrible is about to happen.
Suspiria also offers excellent performances from its leads. Dakota Johnson’s performance here should quiet all the hate she receives from her work on the Fifty Shades of Grey series. As Susie, Dakota Johnson speaks with her movements and behaviors just as much as she does with her voice. When you think you finally know where her character is headed, she pivots and does things to keep you guessing. Then, there is Tilda Swinton, who plays two very different characters in this film. As Madame Blanc, she is calm and calculated through the entire film. She has a sinister agenda, but she has an oddly calming presence whenever she is on the screen. Swinton also plays the role of Dr. Josef Klemperer, the psychotherapist through which we are able to unravel the many mysteries of this story. As Klemperer, Swinton plays a more frantic character. He is a character that is dragged into to this story by Patricia and offers an unbiased look into everything that happens.
As most horror movies usually are, Suspiria is a very political film that uses the real-life terrorist attacks of the Red Army Faction as the backdrop for the film. While that aspect of the movie works at times, Guadagnino often goes very heavy-handed on the topic and diverts from the main story more than necessary. As a result, the film drags on a little longer than it should and cause lapses of focos from the main story. Guadagnino’s Suspiria has an unnecessary runtime of 150 minutes that could easily be cut down if the film didn’t try to cram the story with so many different storylines.
If you are a fan of Argento’s Suspiria, it would be wise to expect something entirely different from what he offered. What Guadagnino does here is take the most basic aspects of Argento’s story in order to have a starting point for his own film. After that, however, everything is vastly different. Guadagnino’s Suspiria is a stunning and enchanting feat that uses some astonishing imagery to frighten its audience. The excellent visuals, performances and technical aspects all add up to one of the most chaotic and divisive endings you will see in a very long time.
|RELEASE DATE:||November 2 2018|
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