groovychainsaws’s review published on Letterboxd:
I’ll start this off by saying what I like, and what SHOULDN’T be overlooked despite everything else going on with this film:
• Some absolutely perfect performances, notably from Tilda Swinton and Mia Goth. Dakota Johnson would get a better appraisal from me if she were a factor in her own film and had the screen time to shine like she could have, but that’s a topic for later...
• The coreography is stellar, especially the final number. Reading up on the backgrounds of the dancers and the choreographers there was quite a lot of work that went into the dancing and as someone with a classical dance background (er- sort of...) I really appreciated this detail. It’s unfortunate that it’s a detail that’s ultimately petty arbitrary.
• Thom Yorke put in some good pieces for the score I guess.
I don’t know exactly how this movie was meant to please anyone, going further back than it’s premiere. Purists have had a chip on their shoulder about its production for years, exacerbated by the public denouncement by the original’s creator. Audiences going in fresh have a film that has no confidence in itself or it’s ideas; simultaneously pretentious in it’s asinine 6-act setup and utilization of high art coreography and staging with really thoughtless and shallow execution. For the sake of brevity I guess all I will say is the biggest downfall of the new Suspiria is focus - there almost is none. Buildup and tension and backstory for Suzie, dropped before the mid point. Then it becomes more about Blanc and her place in the studio. That shortly becomes overshadowed by a greater conflict of the witches. And there isn’t a progression to these problems, things get dropped again and again. Over top of this is a plot device ex-nazi trying to add a seasoning of political generational guilt on top of this psychothriller about motherhood. So if there’s no plot focus, what about the aesthetics? I mean let’s face it, isn’t that one of the things that keeps us coming back to the original 40 years after it’s release? The loud sounds, the beautiful gore, the lush technicolor sets, the theatricality of the brutality. Honestly I’ve seen better editing and visual effects in straight-to-DVD movies.... it’s 2019 people, come on. The only reason I couldn’t find this movie in stores in Germany for ages is because I didn’t realize it wasn’t even rated 18+ like the original. So the story and the effects are set up, no punch line. No release, no resolution, no payoff, or at least a satisfying one...
By the end I was more invested in the character of Sarah, the only one seemed pretty connected to things happening around her and the only one with actual stakes, and otherwise pretty empty about the whole experience.
That ends up being the biggest disappointment - that a film made to recreate the emotional response felt by the director watching the original would ultimately not push any of its new ideas far enough to showcase anything really inspiring, or fall back on the source material enough to give respect to it or justify using it’s name.