Suspiria ★★★★½


The blood flows a far deeper, darker and murkier shade of red in Luca Guadagnino's Suspiria. His demented vision of avant-garde horror and its treatment thereof makes Argento's classic feel like cheap giallo in comparison (no offense). With a narrative scope immeasurably greater than its 1977 counterpart, Luca's Suspiria weaves together an elaborate web of mythos, secrets and all that is deranged ― with dark subtextual themes revolving abuse of power, repentance, manipulation, and perversion within matriarchy; once you peel back its layers of gore, dancing and the occult.

Unlike in Argento's film, the characters take central stage here in shaping up the drama, and it is through their psychological development (or degeneracy) that conflicts are introduced. While it takes inspiration from Argento's "Three Mothers" mythology, and keeps essential locations and characters unchanged, Guadagnino's version completely reimagines all that happens to Susie Bannion and the Tanz Academy. Sudden bouts of violence are replaced by cold, cunning and methodical execution of the coven's plans. The coven itself is explored in more detail and lent more complexity than being hushed away to a corner. Despite its outlandish appearance, there's a lot of subtle visual storytelling at play, which demands the viewers' complete attention and immersion in order for them to fully appreciate Luca's ambitious scripting.

It is an unbridled descent into madness, swinging between chaotic and controlled, and the Tanz Academy's nerve-wracking mysteries take their toll on the viewer just as much as on its dancers. The editing job here is a thing of beauty, with frenetic cuts between a huge variety of camera angles setting up scenes of confusion and anxiety, and montages of dark imagery being juxtaposed against dreams and memories to take us inside a traumatized subconscious. Like every other aspect of the film, the colour and lighting too is outrageously bold yet classy, and should rival the nightmarish effect Argento had managed all those years ago. And nothing I say could possibly do justice to Thom Yorke's deeply unsettling score, which really makes the film all the more disturbing to watch.

More terrifying than most of the titles billed as 'horror', and easily one of my favourites from 2018. Guadagnino has struck cinematic gold and made something so unrelentingly imaginative and crazy that it's guaranteed to polarize viewers everywhere; and I, for one, am glad that he's gone this route of championing what he envisioned rather than trying to please everyone with any conventional remake. Can't stress enough how impressed I am and desperately need to rewatch this again pretty soon.

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