Suspiria

Suspiria ★★★★

Bleak, uncompromising, and visceral are words I would choose to describe Suspiria directed by Luca Guadagnino.

Calling this a remake of the original 1977 film would be a mistake. The movie while sharing similar stories are entirely different films. Each was accomplishing different things and being executed vastly different. The original Suspiria from the 70s is more a visual experience with fun gore and campiness you expect from the director, Dario Argento, where the story isn't essential and is brushed aside for the visual flair.

The new Suspiria is quite a movie. At two and a half hours long, the film fills it with an engaging A-plot of a dance studio, and it's fresh newcomer, American girl Susie, and a somewhat okay B-plot with an old doctor discovering more about the dance studio and the witches that inhabit it. Throughout the movie, these storylines interact and flirt around each other with neither getting the full attention they truly deserve. So much time is allotted to the old man story that it distracts from the very engaging main plot with Susie and her envelopment by the coven at the dance studio. While these two plots are going on, there is an even more insidious possible third storyline that could be developed more with a terrorist organization, but it's not explored much and goes away by the end of the film with no real "resolution." This is my biggest issue with Suspiria. There is so much packed into this movie, it feels confused on what it wants to say, and accomplish.

For some positives, this movie is freaking gorgeous. While not spastically shoving your face with primary colors like the original Suspiria, this movie tends to focus on the dull greys of Berlin and the true dark nature of the city at that time. The camera and editing style are skittish and frantic. Continually asking the audience to prepare itself for a quick cut, or even sweeping establishing shots. The movie is visually didactic in keeping the audience engaged with its style.

The acting as well is incredibly engaging, and I have never seen Dakota Johnson be this good before in any other role, including her previous work with Guadagnino. Tilda Swinton though is the real show stealer, taking total command of the movie in many different ways that you'll only understand once you watch the movie.

Overall Suspiria is a fantastic horror film that is bogged down from too many ideas and the lack of attention and care to them. Would highly recommend if you enjoy Fassbinder movies for his style of filmmaking, editing, and overall horror slow burn experiences. Can't wait to watch it again once it gets a wider release.

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