Swish_41’s review published on Letterboxd:
“They’ll hollow me out and eat my cunt on a plate..”
What in tarnation? What the utter fuck? Why did this movie bring tears to my eyes?
I love the original Suspiria. I believe it to be a stylistic masterpiece, demonstrating a masterful grasp of color and sound that creates a transfixing, mesmerizing experience. Any attempt to remake such a classic faces an uphill battle. You must retell the story 40 years later, and in such a way that feels fresh and not derivative. It’s a near-impossible task. But goddamn if this movie doesn’t get the job done.
For many folks, the way this movie retools the original will probably be an affront. “How dare you tinker with perfection,” they might say. But for others, such as myself, the way this movie brings Suspiria into the 21st century is inspiring. Not everything from the original makes the jump, unfortunately. The rocking Goblin soundtrack, the psychedelic colors. But this is a product of changing historical context. Despite being set in 1977, this movie is certainly aware that it is not the original, that it is not 1977 anymore.
I got the same impression from 2018’s Halloween. That movie paid homage to the original, kept its original conflict, but it also updated Michael Meyers and played to the sensibilities of today. Luca Guadagnino does much the same here. I think it was a smart choice to move away from the giallo/slasher elements of the original and fully embrace the occult. Considering the trends of horror now, with Hereditary, The Witch, The Blackcoat’s Daughter, and A Dark Song all being examples of occult horror, it makes way more sense to delve into the witchcraft stuff that the original sort of smoothed over.
I think the acting, dialogue, and writing overall was very good, which, god love Argento’s Suspiria, was a bit lacking there. Coupled with her performance in Bad Times at the El Royale, I’m convinced that Dakota Johnson is great and shouldn’t be stigmatized by her work with the Fifty Shades movies. Though if you watch even ten minutes of those films you’ll know that she’ carried that whole goddamn franchise. Tilda Swinton is masterful as always. Why they had her play two drastically different roles is beyond me, but, why the fuck not right? If they ever make a direct sequel to this movie, Swinton should just play every role.
It’s hard to codify why I liked this movie so, so much. I mean, I’m almost certain I liked it as much as the original. Maybe it’s my emotions taking over, the sheer visceral response to what I saw onscreen. Is it a masterpiece? Is it terrible and gaudy? I have no clue. I just know that I unequivocally enjoyed it. The choices made here undeniably appealed to me. But, on a deeper level, I just really long for movies like these. I know that makes me sound dramatic, but it’s true. Real, original material is such a scarcity these days. Though this movie is a remake, it’s message is entirely its own. And I am all for it.