Suspiria ★★★★★


“The only thing scarier than the last twelve minutes of Suspiria are the first ninety-two.”

The first time I watched Suspiria, I awarded it a seven out of ten. I couldn’t tell you why, partly because I can’t fathom what was wrong with me and partly because I left the film logged but not reviewed. Thus my only previous thoughts of this film have been lost in time. All I can tell you for certain is that I clearly didn’t know what I was saying, and Suspiria is one of the greatest movies of all time. I spent the better part of this entire movie deciding whether it was better than Rosemary’s Baby, whether it was my favorite horror movie, and, for lack of better phraseology, whether or not it would break through the glass ceiling. I think there are small things that keep this below Rosemary’s Baby, but to say it’s a tight race is to put it lightly. What’s not a tight race is the competition between this and the remake as for which film is superior. Obviously it’s the original. Obviously it’s the origknal. Even when I had this film at a seven out of ten, it was better than the remake. My opinion on that is strong, but I need to start examining why this movie is so good before I get ahead of myself.

Before the plot even begins, you’re bound to be struck with two things: the perfectly in tune score and the vibrant, sexy colorization. These set the tone of Suspiria as well as any film’s tone has been set by the first three minutes. The imagery is, in fact, one of the most striking things about the film. Not just the colors, but the set design. The cinematography. The reveals. The work there is genius, just as much as every other aspect of the film. Somehow the stakes now feel higher. The tension more tense. The film as a whole all the more mystifying. In these ways and more, the energy it keeps up perfectly compliments the screenplay and story, which...actually remind me more and more of Rosemary’s Baby the more I think about. That’s one reason why it’s so difficult to rank them—they’re really very similar in most ways. On my list of favorites, they may as well be tied. The screenplay feels like Rosemary’s Baby if it were more stripped down, and better for a wider audience—before, of course, Dario Argento steps into the director’s chair and makes the batshit insane stuff pop out even more than it otherwise may have. Suspiria is a no bullshit feature, and I love that. In some ways it expects so much of you, and in others it gives you a break. That the film toes that line so well might be stranger than any frame of this film in and of itself, and for that reason and more I have to award it one of the strongest 100s I possibly can.