Suspiria ★★★★½

A wildly bold reimagining of a true cult classic—Guadagnino makes the core story entirely his own, completely overhauling its structural elements while turning it into a nightmarish mood piece that might be the scariest depiction of witchcraft I've ever seen. I'll punt on posting more comprehensive thoughts until after a second viewing but a few notes: a) It's truly remarkable, and a testament to his vast directorial gifts, that Guadagnino's pacing and approach is nearly identical to Call Me by Your Name, languidly pulling us in with confident pacing and imagery that tells us as much as any verbal exchange. Can't imagine achieving that so beautifully in two more different genres/vessels. Extraordinary. (Also, it was smart to recognize that the original Suspiria simply had no need to be remade. But reinvented...) b) The decision to remove the mystery from the coven, instead placing it front and center, removed my biggest quibble with the original; e.g. that the entire witch angle as presented by Argento—a twist, a revelation—seems simultaneously stupid and unscary. And it allowed Guadagnino to play with the underbelly in a dreamy, experimental manner that worked wonders for me. This was one of the rare movies where I felt its length entirely without being remotely bored or impatient. (Only the final 10-15 minutes feel slightly dragged out; they work in a Mother! sort of way, but they're not quite as electrifyingly intoxicating as the rest of the picture.) c) Susie's initial dance number, where every body movement breaks Olga apart just a little bit more, is a truly special sequence, a formal tour-de-force of camerawork and editing that simultaneously terrifies and hypnotizes while serving a key narrative purpose. Swinton's fabulously dynamic and icy. Endless stretches entrance and challenge the cubicles of the nails. Now that I have a firm beat on the approach here, I'm very excited to see what a second look yields—I suppose I understand why some may find this excessive and empty if you aren't sucked in from the jump, but if you Guess I'm officially a fanboy.


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