Suspiria

Suspiria ★★★★★

A transcendental nightmare that hasn’t released its grip on me since I saw it opening night in Cincinnati. It’s incredible that this is likely my 9th or 10th viewing and I still notice and pick up things that went totally over my head in previous visits. At this point I’ve had my viewpoint on the film challenged to the moon and back again, but none of that really matters anymore. Sometimes there are movies that just speak to you on such an unbelievably personal level that trying to argue its merit in any regard becomes an exercise in futility... though I will say the people who think this is poorly edited haven’t seen a whole lot of truly poorly edited films, but I digress. 

Visceral horror, in principal, is kind of like Punk Rock. It tends to work best when it’s short, loud, and filled with energy, so the fact that this movie exists is a minor miracle, that I can sit here for two and half hours and never even approach being bored. It understands anxiety and visceral body horror so very well, making it never lose its edge whilst viewing it. I wrote a 12,000 word essay for my film final about the way the film tackles fascism, sexuality, gender, and paranoia, so I’ve had my fill of analyzing it for it’s more subtextual layers, but god damn does it impress me how many layers this actually works on whilst still being effective and brutal in its own right. 

The best way I can articulate my adoration for the movie is by saying that it’s my ideal, perfect horror film. The kind of film you daydream about seeing, containing all these elements in a swirl of direct, magnetic appeal, but feel like could only exist in your head because it’s simply too good to be true. This behemoth feels like it read my mind and cherry picked everything I love about film and filmmaking, and even what I love about the original Suspiria, and Guadagnino’s love and appreciation for these things bleeds out of the movie and makes me feel like he and I value the same kind of experiences. The way the movie conveys itself through the art of dance, one marked improvement upon the original film in my eyes, is also a stroke of genius, because it gets everything it possibly could out of this, whereas the original hangs a lampshade on the whole ‘dance’ thing. Everything from the lavish and haunting set design to the absolutely fucking god-tier soundtrack from one of my favorite musicians alive, Thom Yorke (so much so that I’ve listened to this 1 and half hour long score on its own multiple times) creates this thick, brooding atmosphere that only great horror films like ‘The Shining’ or ‘The Witch’ can achieve. It even manages to do so much with its characters and their relationships with relatively little, from the wide-eyed but mysterious Susie Banion, to the desired Revolutionary Madam Blanc, it explores their relationship with one another as well as the relationship they have through dance, art, and that of the horrors itself. I literally couldn’t even think of a hypothetical complaint I could have anymore. There’s a swirling internal battle in me that happens every time I watch it, where I’m hypnotically lulled into being lost inside of it, and where I’m constantly disturbed and haunted by its actual content. It’s a movie so dense there’s not really ‘one way’ you can view it, and that density lends me so much to latch onto, to think about, to be frightened by, and no other horror movie has been able to achieve that with me. And most of all, it achieves this unparalleled sense of emotional melancholy, the likes of which I simply haven’t ever felt before, as if there’s this profound sadness imbued into every frame of the film that I feel like I’ve felt since before I even saw it, as silly as that sounds. 

Suspiria is, without a doubt, my favorite horror film of all time. May mother favor you, Luca Guadagnino, you magnificent genius.

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