Suspiria ★★★½

I sympathize with a lot of the criticism I’ve seen written about this, particularly everything associated with the Dr. Klemperer storyline which assumes a level of investment in a character presumed dead after the first scene and an attachment to what amounts to a prolonged stunt performance buried under somewhat convincing prosthesis* that grinds the film to a crawl every time they’re on screen. Likewise, any thematic value to all the RAF/Holocaust material, which constantly creeps in from the margins, went completely over my head (it actually reminded me of how Guadagnino included the North African migrants in A BIGGER SPLASH lest anyone think he only had horny 50-somethings on his mind). But I’m all in for the film’s sensual pleasures—if you can call them that—that remain the director’s greatest gift. Considering the two most meme-able moments of his previous films were dance sequences it feels like a natural evolution that Guadagnino would dedicate an entire film to capturing the physicality of dance, highlighting the carnality of movement within the frame as a source of both beauty and horror. In so long as the film exists within the Markos dance school, which is depicted as a buzzing hive of female energy (with an amusing and immediately suspicious 1:1 ratio of matronly instructors to students) the film is a gas of cackling malevolence and ick-worthy body horror. I particularly enjoyed the film’s desaturated palette of Soviet-era grays and browns, which, along with Yorke’s dirge-like score, announces the film as a completely different animal from Argento’s version. I question how much is actually happening under the hood but the filmmaking itself is mesmerizing.

*It’s worth noting that this may be the least interesting performance ever given by this particular actor.

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