Pjk’s review published on Letterboxd:
In my recent review of the original 1977 giallo classic, I mentioned that although I loved Argento's version, a reworking of the original could be exactly what the film needs. Boy was I right.
Guadagnino's 'Suspiria' is less of a remake and more of an homage to the original, as all good remakes or adaptations should be in my eyes. A remake or adaptation should because of the feeling that experiencing the source material gave the creator, and how that feeling drives his/her creation. As long as the same barebones structure is there, I believe the artist should have free reign to from that point on. It is this idea that Guadagnino really takes to heart. Seldom are scenes bathed in splashes of bright primary colors like they so often are in the original, with Guadagnino and DP Sayombhu Mukdeeprom went for more muted tones, opting for more late-autumn to early winter tones (which I prefer, likely because that's how it is around me right now, making it more intriguing). All of the technical and acting fallacies of the original are smoothed over, and the storyline is only vaguely similar to the original.
Instead, this film is much more esoteric and abstract than the original. It is highly provocative and certainly polarizing; I can totally see where some might lose interest in this film, however I definitely didn't. Guadagnino does an amazing job with evoking a sense of fear, tension, and dread. He establishes the coven early on, allowing their dark and mystical fog to hang above everything else. His versatility in evoking these senses is frankly incredible, as the film is equal in its brutality and subtlety. Of course, Thom Yorke's score is the perfect backdrop to all of this madness, and is at times beautiful and melancholic and other times is booming and dominating. It is honestly one of (if not the) best scores of the year, and from a feature debut as well.
I would try to go into all of the imagery and symbolism and apparent political commentary that this film goes into, but to me this is the type of film where the emotionality that it evokes is so overpowering that an analytical approach is simply impossible at first viewing. This film is an enigma to me, and likely will remain that way even after a few watches. Just know that it is beautifully phantasmagoric (and better than the original).
EDIT: It's been almost a week now since I saw this and I'm desperate to see it again. I had to bump it up to 5 stars because it's soooo incredibly good in retrospect and I was denying myself the rating simply because I didn't really understand it all.