Suspiria ★★★★★

I don’t remember exactly when it was I learned Suspiria was being remade, (or, re-imagined, rather) but I do know I was very skeptical. I, like many other horror fans, I’m sure, have been let down time and time again by god-awful remakes of horror classics. And a remake of a masterpiece like Dario Argento’s 1977 film Suspiria? Completely unnecessary. I probably thought something along those lines while neglecting my responsibilities and reading up on horror news. Completely unnecessary.

Then came the first teaser trailer. It was grey and bleak, packed with haunting imagery. It was then I realized I should probably treat the new Suspiria as its own force entirely. It clearly wasn’t trying to recreate the psychedelic color palette of the original, which was quite honestly one of my biggest worries. The original Suspiria is all atmosphere, atmosphere I feel could not and should not be recreated. And though I wasn’t quite sure what they were going for, I was on board.

As every subsequent trailer rolled in I got more and more excited. I couldn’t help it. I read every interview with Guadagnino on the film that I could, learning he was a huge fan of the original film, and that it had always been his dream to direct a horror film. Promising. Gaining possibly unearned respect for Guadagnino and his vision thus-far, I anxiously awaited the film to come to a theater near me. I avoided spoilers and kept Thom Yorke’s score to the film on repeat as soon as it released on Spotify, constantly checking showtimes as the film slowly rolled in to select cinemas. It took a while, but it finally began screening at a theater near me. With tickets reserved a couple days in advance, I hyped myself up for a friday night screening of Guadagnino’s Suspiria. I conjured Paimon those nights, and asked Guadagnino be struck down if this two and a half hour film doesn’t live up to my likely unrealistic expectations.

It was a cold November night. Brisk, harsh Michigan air, probably. I approached the cinema terrified. Don’t let me down, Guadagnino. What had I done? An innocent man will die if this film doesn’t live up to my preconceived expectations, and it will be entirely my fault. Please, let this be good. I entered the theater, and bought myself an overpriced popcorn combo so I could chew loudly during the quiet parts for all to hear. I braced myself, cleared my mind of the original film, and got comfortable.

I spent the next two hours and thirty two minutes in a trance. Well, that's not entirely true, I spent about ten of those minutes scrambling to find a theater attendant after spilling my large pepsi all over the Celebration Cinema’s bathroom floor. My trance resumed after returning somewhere towards the end of the fourth act. When the film came to an end, I was left stunned. Completely speechless. I knew I loved it. I knew it was quite possibly the best film I’d ever seen. But I was shaken, left with a lump in my throat, and unable to gather the words to describe how I really felt about it.

Now, weeks later, I know how I feel about it. Suspiria is one of the best films I’ve ever seen. In fact, Suspiria is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I don’t think any film has made me feel the way this one did. I was genuinely unsettled, something so few films can do for me at this point. The first pivotal scene had me on the edge of my seat grinning wildly. Grinning wildly because I was incredibly unnerved, and it was a feeling I deeply missed. Something I hadn’t felt in too long. The deep emotional impact good horror can have on you is absolutely amazing. Suspiria hit all the right beats as far as horror goes, and the epilogue damn near brought me to tears.

Suspiria is a masterfully crafted film. It hit every beat. Outstanding writing, acting, cinematography, and score. The perfect fucking film. But most importantly, it reminded me why I love the horror genre, and why I spend so much time sifting through absolute shit. It's for films like this. So thank you, Luca Guadagnino, for reminding me why I love horror.

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