Suspiria ★★★½

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

This review may contain spoilers.

My immediate reaction differs from a lot of folks and that’s okay! I’ll come back in a few days and reevaluate and consider more specifics, but this is what I’m feeling right now.

EDIT: I’ve thought about it, and my feelings about Suspiria are still consistent with how I felt after leaving the theatre. It’s a film that is and isn’t afraid of its darkness. And what I mean by this is that it has no qualms about the women, the witches specifically, breaking and bending mentally and physically their students for Markos’ gain. Beautifully shot and well-acted, Suspiria gives us more background and insight into the witches that run the school than the original. We see them vote and interact with one another, and we know from the beginning the reason this is no ordinary school. Its colors are muted, but you can feel that something is alive beneath the floorboards of the rehearsal space. From the beginning with a scene that I would never like to see again, Suspiria shows that these mothers are not mothers at all, and are willing to use their power for the gain of one. With the mistakes of WWII whispering within each moment, what terrible things do we do for power or for those we believe should be in power? And how do we deal with the aftermath? All good questions that Suspiria, while also considering the power of motherhood, brings up throughout the film - something that we should be considering in these times that we’re living in. 

But, then I found myself frustrated at points. For a movie about the body, particular the female body, and dancers, it seems to shy away from this after a particular scene at the beginning. And as much as I don’t enjoy body horror, I was really interested in what Suspiria potentially had to say, through dialogue and visually, about dance and the body, but that never quite comes back to fruition for me. The background of the German Autumn felf off to me because it didn’t feel lived or explored. The discontent of the German Autumn, the corruption of power through “motherhood” and the wielding of power by women all seemed to be major themes of this work in connection with guilt and shame, but the script left so little to say about them besides their connections and gruesome results that I just left the theatre wanting more. 

Additionally, I didn’t enjoy the ending because it took me right out of the movie - the film seemed so interested in the body, in a twisted and realistic way, that the cartoonish deaths at the end felt off in addition to some other aesthetic choices.

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