This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Ben Reiss’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
So, Suspiria felt like a real missed opportunity to me. The script regularly made reference to the city of Berlin, The German Autumn, WW2, the way that psychology has historically failed women, American fundamentalist religion, and many other things. But it all felt like lip service. The film simultaneously beats the audience over the head with its 'themes' and only tangentially touches on them. We are constantly being told that the film is saying something very important but the film never bothers to commit to saying its important things either through subtext or actual text. With the exception of a few dream sequences and the final sabbath (which I'll get to later) there was precious little incorporation of any sort of imagery to serve the heavy themes that the film seemed to be offering up. The film constantly reminds us that it takes place in Berlin but makes no effort to incorporate the aesthetic of Berlin besides being 'drab'. The 2.5 hour runtime is spent almost entirely with bored-looking people in drab dance studios.
The climactic witches sabbath itself contains two bizarre choices that encapsulate the problems I had with the film. The first is with the color. The one thing everyone remembers from the original Suspiria is its striking use of color and lighting, something that this new Suspiria attempts to incorporate in the climax. But instead of actually putting red into the scene, the film is simply tinted with a dark, blood red. The film pays visual lip service to the use of color without bothering to incorporate it into the scene in an interesting way. The second choice made in the scene is to give it a weepy Thom Yorke song rather than give it a more visceral score (sidenote: I overall thought Yorke's score in the film was solid, if a bit too understated). The weepy song softens the scene rather than plays it up, dampening the effect of the imagery.
Suspiria felt watered-down to me, which is a real shame because there was a vision somewhere in the film. It felt like a storyboard, with a bunch of ideas taped on that would have been interesting if they were properly serviced. The finished product to me felt bland, muted, and shallow.