Suspiria ★★½


Dug this for a long time, and while the excessively snappy editing and lofty zooms provided minor annoyance, there’s enough tactile morbidity—e.g. the death-by-contortion (my god), the “shared” dream/nightmare excerpts, the dark hallway of doom etc.—to keep things sufficiently creepy even in the face of narrative triviality, something that Argento’s original couldn’t do*. (Though in that regard, the inclusion of wartime drama feels not only like unnecessary padding, but critical pandering.) Whereas the 70s cult classic relied heavily on music and color, Guadagnino’s remake is strangely barren of either**, instead focusing on choreography and patterns, organizational space and worldly latticework, staunchly drained of vibrant hues and/or pulsating scores. Neat! Or so I thought! The further the film progress, the stronger the witchcraft elements attempt to inject relevance—mostly via bungled symbolism, no less—which I find problematic enough. But at least partially understandable, if thoroughly frustrating. That final twenty minutes, however: There’s no excuse or justification with which its existence I can comfortably rectify in my mind. Visually and aurally, it’s absolutely nothing special. Decoratively, it’s almost laughable, esp. the decrepit, side-shield-sunglasses-wearing Mother and the Mortal Kombatesque fatality spree. Viscerally, it fails to move the needle in any instinctual capacity. Thematically, well...*pfffft* (Please don’t say anything about feminism, or abuse/thirst of power, or motherhood, because it’s all halfhearted at best.) Just a total goddamn mess for fifteen straight minutes, as though EYES WIDE SHUT’s mansion sequence had been reimagined by Cronenberg, only without the precision or creativity of either director. And if you weren’t fed up by that point, the dainty “Epilogue” comes along and barfs directly into your mouth. Trying and failing to think of a film that so gracelessly took out its own kneecaps this severely during the home stretch. This 48 is a testament to how delectably squeamish I found the first nearly-two hours.

*To my mind, obviously. Most people will argue that Argento’s SUSPIRIA either [1] is creepy, or [2] isn’t supposed to be creepy. [Shrug].

**I love Radiohead to death but Thom Yorke’s “A Moon Shaped Pool” leftovers do not belong in this film.

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