Suspiria ★★★★½

It’s been hours. My stomach feels queasy, my shoulder blades keep distorting unnaturally and all I see when I close my eyes is red neon and art deco. Suspiria is a sickness.

Before seeing the film, I caught glimpses of reviews--words like “grotesque,” “twisted,” “horrific” and “visceral” all repeated, but still I wasn’t prepared for just HOW MUCH each of those descriptors are felt throughout Suspiria’s six acts. This wasn’t a fun movie to watch; in fact, I’m not sure I’ll ever bring myself to watch it again. It left me both terrified and exhilarated in a way that no movie has before. I am exhausted.

Technically, each component just works. Luca’s vision is singular. The cinematography is beautiful, even as it unsettles. The camera movements never allow you to get too comfortable; there’s always a mirror or hidden corner to be revealed. The editing, which moves from indulgent and patient to choppy and rhythmic is vital to the grotesquerie. Dakota Johnson is equally charming and disquieting. Tilda Swinton carries multiple plotlines and delivers each line with her entire being. Mia Goth and the other dancers all deliver great performances. The choreography is used as a character in itself; it’s evil, it’s weaponized, it’s loud, it’s uncontained, it’s dangerous--and it’s beautiful.

Suspiria is a nightmare and it’s terrible, but it’s beautiful.

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