Cinekraut’s review published on Letterboxd:
This was probably my most anticipated film of the year (right after that follow Strickland’s In Fabric and McPhail’s Anna and the Apocalypse; I still have to see both) and I actually don’t know where to start here. The first thing I want to mention is that I was glad I saw it on the big screen (a 2 hour train ride aside) and in the original version!
There is quite a lot to be discussed but I’ll keep it as short as possible. Let’s begin with the things I personally loved: The acting was superb. Very strong performances by everybody involved but I especially loved Tilda’s triple acting job, Mia Goth and basically every actress playing one of the instructors. I’d like to mention Angela Winkler, Renée Soutendijk and Ingrid Carven here. Chloë Grace Moretz didn’t have too much to do but was convincing and Dakota Johnson mastered her task wonderfully. It was also nice to have Jessica Harper back in the game although I didn’t quite like her character/the general side-plot she’s connected to (but more on that later).
Another thing that stood out for me was the spoken German by the non-German actresses: Kudos to everyone! They were all very convincing and I could understand basically everything (the only one I had problems with was Moretz but I couldn’t understand her English too well either, so maybe that was just a character trait^^?).
I was also totally impressed by the various dance scenes throughout the film. The atmosphere that was created was unique, spellbinding, eerie and fascinating at the same time. But this was not only achieved by the acting but also by Thom Yorke’s hauntingly beautiful score. I’ll listen to it for the next few months on Spotify ;). He would definitely deserve every award (nomination) possible but I doubt he’ll even get a single nomination which is truly sad.
Another thing I adore is the cinematography (those mirror room scenes and zooms) and mainly everything on the technical/production side: sound design/effects, costumes, make-up, set design. I had some problems with the prosthetics however. While I highly admired what they did with Ebersdorf/Klemperer, I wasn’t too keen on Markos’ and Pat’s look in that scene (it was terrifying and funny at the same time). And why did they use computer generated blood (I would love to see that scene with actual fake blood)?
I’ll come to the plot now, therefore BE AWARE OF SPOILERS (THEY END AFTER THIS ABSTRACT):
While I liked the overall plot I had problems/issues with some major arcs. They built up the Klemperer storyline quite well with him sympathising with both Pat and Sara but the eventual outcome of it was rather disappointing. If the witches just needed a witness they could have picked basically any random person. And why did they include the whole Anke storyline? Just to lure old Josef to the dance academy? Are we supposed to feel sympathy for him/her/them? That backstory was just pointless. Did Guadagnino want to make a statement about WWII/the holocaust? If so, it felt totally out of place in this film. And why did we need the whole Susie flashbacks to Ohio? That was probably my least favourite part about this film.
SPOILERS END HERE.
Conclusively, I can say that I really enjoyed the cinema experience although the film is definitely a flawed one (especially plot-wise). I adore the Argento version and really love that Guadagnino put his own spin on the film which was heavily carried by the phenomenal acting, score/soundtrack and cinematography.