Suspiria

Suspiria ★★★★½

Sacrilege I know but I'm not a great fan of Dario Argento's "Suspiria". Yes, I know it's visually dazzling and a boldly executed piece of cinematic horror but its descent into madness feels to me too much like a descent into daftness so I confess I was somewhat surprised when I heard that someone with as distinguished a pedigree as Luca Guadagnino should want to remake it; I thought the territory might be closer to Rob Zombie. Of course, what Guadagnino serves up is nothing like the original. Yes, he keeps the basic plot; young American girl in Europe, (here, 1970's Berlin), enrolls at an upmarket dance academy which is really a front for a coven of witches, then adds another hour to the running time and casts Tilda Swinton in a triple role, including that of an aged male doctor then makes it even more extreme and violent than the original as he equates dance with body horror in all its forms.

While Argento's film was Grand Guignol silly, this is genuinely disturbing. There's a real sense of evil here that transcends mere shock tactics. It's also got a terrific performance from Swinton that again transcends the mere novelty value of prosthetic make-up, particularly when she's playing the head of the dance academy and number one witch. It's also nice to see Angela Winkler in the meaty role of her opposite number. Indeed Guadagnino's handling of his mostly female cast is sublime. This is a horror movie for our time but it's also a work of art and a very worthy addition to its director's canon.