Suspiria

Suspiria ★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

SUSPIRIA (2018)
"An American woman enrolls at a prestigious dance academy in 1977 Berlin that is run by a coven of witches."

So...many...bodily...fluids...spilled...on the screen!
This remake/reboot of Dario Argento's Suspiria (1977) shouldn't be classified necessarily as a remake or a reboot; it would be better identified and praised as its own individual existential film paying homage to the 1977 Italian classic. I say this because at the core of the film, the story (at least certain main parts of it), it's similar to its inspirational source material. But the heart that drives the movie lies in the direction by Luca Guadagnino, who implements several distinct differential stylistic and tonal choices, along with some truly substantial (and thought provoking) subtext provided by the movies screenwriter David Kajganich.
Now admittingly, this is not a movie for everyone; there are divisive things in this movie that will make people either love it or hate it, including fans of the original Suspiria. Fortunately for me, I loved it (to a degree), and gradually during the course of the film, separated my mindframe from this movie being a remake.
Let's just get the juicy bits, the meat and potatoes, the sweet good bits out of the way, starting with the acting. The acting in this movie, from everyone involved, is phenomenal. Dakota Johnson kills it as Susie Bannion, Mia Goth slays as Sara Simms, and Chloë Grace Moretz haunts as Patricia Hingle. All the young female actresses in the movie at the dance academy are mesmerizing, sexy, and invigorating.
But it's really Tilda Swinton who shines the most here. She portrays three different characters in the film: the head witch choreographer Madame Blanc, elder male Dr. Josef Klemperer, and the hideous witch Mother Helena Markos. Such emotional range taken with each character as well as distinct portrayal traits really make me wish Tilda Swinton receives an oscar. Major props to her epically stellar acting capabilities.
Speaking of choreography, DAMN, are the dance sequences insanely good here. They're just breath takingly beautiful, chock full of wild sexual energy, while simultaneously evoking a sense of intricate chaos and radiant pain. Visually, these scenes are some of the most impressive in the film (but just some thankfully).
Visually speaking, the movie departs significantly from Argento's Technicolor palette style for a more bleak, Winterish landscape style that's gratifying for this type of movie. The stark lack of color until the third act works for what this film was aiming for; with the impressive lighting and editing effects, plus some intensely shot camerawork backing it, the visuals are mighty impressive.
I love the underlying themes of the movie too. Granted, I'll probably have to watch this movie five or six more times to get it completely, but the themes of motherhood (the three mothers, Madame Blanc's growing stance on Susie, Susie's ruptured relationship with her own mother) and abuse of political power (the academy's witches towards the girls) stood out prevalently clear to me. There's also a thematic element of guilt employed that's executed in ways that are welcoming.
Now, the third act of this movie, is probably the most dividing standpoint. It's a red-tinged array of carnal imagery, demonic evil, and gory bloodletting all thrust at us gratuitously and fast. And once I wiped away my astonishment and perplexity at it, one word came to mind...'awesome.'
Guys and gals, once again, I can fully understand why some people may hate this movie; some will find it too artsy, too long, maybe even too pretentious; but I personally found it to be an utterly spectacular ride.
Is it downright, batshit peculiar? Oh, without a doubt! But is it a movie I'll be visiting again with eager eyes and devout attention? Hell yes!

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