Matt’s review published on Letterboxd:
Luca Guadagnino's "Suspiria" is a film I've been waiting for all year, and it is way different than I ever could have imagined. The film as a whole is very good, with some small elements that pull me out completely. Generally, I was ready to be terrified by this movie, and it didn't scare me in the slightest, which is honestly good because I hate feeling scared (ha look at me I'm a total puss). Like, the movie was scary, but in more of a "Mandy" way than a "Halloween" way. You never feel like anything unexpected will happen suddenly, there's no fear or risk of jump scares, it just feels like there is a horrific event waiting to happen.
Dakota Johnson is miraculous in the leading role. Her dancing is so raw and the way she moves adds so much to this movie. Her transition from sweet, innocent girl to corruption is entirely believable, and by the end of the movie, you can see how her performance has changed. She has a way of carrying herself that allows her to make subtle changes that inform us as an audience.
The dancing overall is also amazing. I wish more films used the medium of dance outside of musicals, because damn, dance is so effective and raw. I loved it in this.
There are also some scenes in this film that are absolutely brutal. For instance, the Olga Mirrored Room scene, which will go down in history as one of the most vile and twisted things in the horror genre. It had me cringing, covering my eyes, feeling sick to my stomach, and laughing at how far it was going. Luca really outdid himself with that scene in specific. But that isn't the only one.
A few issues I have with the movie:
For one, Tilda Swinton's old man role, despite the makeup being very good, doesn't seem to fit with the movie. This character has an obscene amount of screen time and his own story arch, which is totally inconsequential to the entire plot of the film and adds nothing into the narrative or the themes that I could tell. While it was never bad, it just felt out of place, and greatly slowed down the movie. The film is also 2 hours and 37 minutes, and I'm going to say about 45 of that focused on the old man and could have been trimmed down to make this film less of a behemoth. The structure is also a little bit odd, with it being told in "six acts and an epilogue", and the acts never having a beginning, middle, or end. The acts feel very arbitrary, as they do not conform to the defined story beats and seem to start and finish randomly. I like the idea of having the story in six acts and an epilogue, it's just poorly structured for that.
Generally though, "Suspiria" is very good, and it has some horrific imagery.
Luca Guadagnino is just plowing his way through working with my favorite songwriters. Sufjan Stevens, Thom Yorke, next Bob Dylan. Man has great taste (and yes, Thom Yorke's soundtrack is good).