Robert Shupe’s review published on Letterboxd:
I want to start off by saying I have not seen the original Suspiria so I am writing about this version only. I do hope to someday catch the original.
This film requires patience and paying attention to the details. It utilized a slow pace and at times it does feel like a long film and at other moments it completely demands your attention.
My teenage daughter has done both gymnastics and dance and as a result I have begun to appreciate the artistry of both. Interpretive dance is beauty in motion and it was effectively used and fused into quite the horror elements in this film. The choreography was gorgeous and impressive and integral to the story.
Reviewing horror movies can be difficult to describe at times as you tend to use the same adjectives over and over. The adjective that came to mind in the first horrific scene was grotesque. That word stayed to the end.
In one simple sentence a coven of witches uses a dance school as a front for their more evil machinations. Yet it is so much more than that.
The various use of camera angles was impressive as it gave the real world look an off kilter feel. This was brilliantly deliberate.
The movie also used real world events of conflict in Germany and a famous plane hijacking as evil contrasting and comparing to the evil happening in the studio.
Tilda Swinton was a beast in this movie and portrayed three different characters. One of the characters blew me away as I did not realize it was her the entire movie.
Dakota Johnson is a risk taker and you can tell she worked hard in her role as the American dancer. Apparently it was an intense role and she sought therapy after filming was complete. Watching it and thinking of the number of takes she likely had to do, it is easy to see why.
Chole Grace Moretz also delivers an honestt performance showcasing the fine line of mental illness and unbelieved reality.
Thom Yorke of Radiohead fame shines in his first soundtrack composition. The score is a work unto itself and does enhance the viewing experience.
The film covers themes such as motherhood, friendship, loyalty, judgement, and the lure of power with the abuses that come with it. These themes will have you thinking about this a film after the credits roll.
Being long, I do believe that are places where the editor could have trimmed the fat more and still have kept the story moving. There are moments that are highly erotic yet they are tempered with the horror elements underlying it. There is quite a lot of nudity towards the end and one could ask if it was fully necessary to the scene. Or one could look at the exposed helplessness in the scene itself.
It is a refreshing take on what horror can be and what it can accomplish. I think a lot of people are turned away at descriptions of it being an art house film. Many reviews complain about the pacing and it being boring. Don't let these things hold you back. Watch it, feel it, and be open to it and I think you will find the viewing to be an experience you are glad you took.
Peace, find the good in others, and dance like no one is looking.