Suspiria ★★★½

Since Luca Guadagnino first announced he was remaking what was then considered this un-remakable piece of horror cinema, I was deathly afraid of what I'd eventually see. He mentioned the absence of a dark, ominous soundtrack in place of some acoustic Thom Yorke music and admitted to removing all disembodied neon lighting in exchange for a more monochrome pallet. I was already checking off my list of ways to ruin Dario Argento's masterpiece one by one... Then a trailer came out and I remembered that some remakes truly soar on the fact that they purposely ditch the original's look & feel almost completely. The teaser also reminded us all that the original film was not just about witchcraft and chaos, but about the passion for dance and the motives that drive us to be the best we can truly be. Well, earlier this month, I finally found my chance to sit down for a viewing of Luca's long awaited reimagining.

It doesn't take 20/20 vision to tell that this movie is absolutely gorgeous. Shot with a frantic and heavily unsettling motion to it's framework, the first thing you're gonna be enthralled with is how the visuals tend to have a life of their own. Close ups of unimportant background fixtures begin to make you feel as if you're not fully aware of your surroundings. Like the movie has you in on a big joke. A highly disturbing joke yet to be executed. The camera placement is beautiful, but horribly claustrophobic all the same. Matched well with its rapid editing style, I began to feel a sense of dread combined with the feeling of being watched. It's a masterful result the team has ended up with, especially if such this result is what they were going for at all. The removal of all fantastical colors from the set dressing is in no way a hindrance to this movie. It places itself in the real world, providing believable threats as opposed to those existing in the realm of fictitious occultism. The set pieces themselves are so detailed and lively that I take back all premature grievance on his alternation to color. After all, you're a bit too preoccupied to care. I mean, this guy is just one hell of a director.

This is one of the first times I've truly felt Dakota Johnson carried a film. She is not just competent, but finally owning her material. Giving her both a dialogue heavy script on top of a physically demanding performance, we as viewers had every right to cringe at her casting up until now. Though this constitutes solely as the opinion of thy self, I was never pulled out of my experience due to her work at any point. Tilda, Chloe, Tilda, along with the rest of the cast provide the rest of the thespian meat needed to take our story in the directions we both expect and never see coming. This film's final act is so different from the original that it really makes the movie feel like it just so happened to be called, "Suspiria". It really has the foundation to come off as its own unique creation rather than simply a retread of past material. There is, however, one slight change that I cannot fail to mention.

This movie is strikingly brutal! Much more violent than the original film, this version stakes claim to some of the most painful looking imagery I could ever hope to see in a movie about ballet. It was easy to wince during scenes of characters being tossed around like rag dolls as their internal organs herniate under the supernatural pressure of such a beating. To see limbs and appendages contort and blood flow like rainfall is not what I'd expect from the same filmmaker who's previous claim to graphic fame was the fucking of a peach. This movie is some serious shit. Although a drastic change to the prior version, we still get some fantastic tributes to that same film all the same. In what is quite the memorable, if not bittersweet, cameo from the original film's starlet for our fandom enjoyment, Jessica Harper's segment is subtle, yet amazing. By far my favorite sequence from the film, it shows that Luca fully understands what makes witchcraft such a devious & wicked device when used correctly on screen.

This horror epic is made by a true visionary. Someone who wants to make a long lasting cult piece that's sure to find a loving audience on the VOD market. It's not riding off the coattails of Argento's blood & tears, but expanding upon each of them in its own impressive way. I'm not saying I like this version more or anything, but I am saying that I can easily get to like this one just as much, if anything. They're too different for me to compare and I like it like that. One thing I can say, this is easily my favorite horror movie remake/reboot of the year by FAR! And if need be, that I will loudly proclaim to the heavens themselves.

- The Spork Guy

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