Luke Thorne’s review published on Letterboxd:
Luca Guadagnino’s horror in which a young American ballerina trains at a prestigious German dance academy and finds out the school’s dark and menacing secrets.
From director Luca Guadagnino, the director of A Bigger Splash and Call Me By Your Name (the director’s previous film, which won James Ivory the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay), comes a remake of the original version which was made by Italian director Dario Argento 41 years earlier.
Considering how much I like the original, my expectations for this remake were low – and they have proven to be correct.
The story concerns young American dancer Susie Bannion (Dakota Fanning) who enters 1970s Berlin to try-out for the world-renowned Helena Markos Dance Company. When she arches to the part of lead dancer, the woman she substitutes breaks down and blames the company's female directors of sorcery.
While that is going on, a nosy therapist and an associate of the company discover dark and threatening confidences as they enquiry the extents of the studio's concealed subversive compartments.
Dakota Johnson gives an okay performance in her role as Susie Bannon, the young American dancer who painfully trains at the German academy, only to find out that the place is definitely not safe to be at.
Elsewhere, Tilda Swinton is alright in her double role as Madame Blanc and Mother Helena Markos. Blanc is in charge of the dance class and also the choreographer, while Mother Helena Markos is one of the witches involved.
Chloë Grace Moretz doesn’t offer much in her role as Patricia Hingleton, the student who mysteriously vanishes, while Jessica Harper, who played Susie in the original effort, makes a cameo here as Anke Meier.
The direction from Guadagnino is okay but it should have been better, such as showing more facial expressions to a stronger effect, while also having more of a tense atmosphere happening as well – this doesn’t occur much.
The script is written to an okay standard by David Kajganich as it is weak in places and there are scenes that did not need to be in the final edit, so the duration didn’t need to be 146 minutes long and the pace is slow. Not only this, but the violence is disturbing to look at as well.
However, the biggest problem for me is the subplot – this does not work and it makes the movie seem like it is running for longer than it is actually meant to, meaning this remake is one that is forgettable and I will always prefer the original.
Overall, the remake of Suspiria is a disappointing and disturbing one, due to the okay performances, direction, weak script, slow pace, long duration, subplot and lack of tense atmosphere.