[Review] Suspiria (2018)
Suspiria – Susie Bannion is a young American ballerina who travels to Berlin to study dancing at the Markos Tanz Company, one of the world’s most renowned schools under Madame Blanc’s management. On her very first day, one of the students who had been recently expelled from the school is murdered. As this appalling happening does not seem to be an isolated occurrence, the brilliant new student soon begins to suspect that the school might be involved in the homicide.
Her mistrust heightens when Sarah, one of the girls at the school, tells her that Pat, before being killed, confided to her that she knew and guarded a terrifyingly dark secret. Meanwhile, an inquisitive psychotherapist and a member of the troupe uncover dark and sinister secrets as they probe the depths of the studio’s hidden underground chambers.
This is going to be yet another one of those films that you are either going to love or just outright hate. I’m afraid you’re going to be highly disappointed if you’re looking for something along the lines of a little more traditional type of film. This movie is not going to be for everyone. On the same hand, many will no doubt try and figure out which film is the better one, this one or the 1977 version. If that’s the case, you might want to keep this in mind, this version of the film is not trying to outdo what the original Argento version offered, but simply to expand on it, making it a completely different experience altogether.
Suspiria, as I’m sure everyone is aware of by now, is a 1977 remake of the Dario Argento film of the same name. In this version, it’s directed by Luca Guadagnino (Call Me by Your Name) and David Kajganich (who worked by Guadagnino on A Bigger Splash and created the AMC limited television show “The Terror”), and expands upon the folklore of Agento’s “Three Mothers” trilogy. 2018’s Suspiria is less a remake and more of an expansion on the world of the Three Mothers, even boasting a post-credit sequence.
Unlike the original film, which used exaggerated colors, Guadagnino conceived the visuals in Suspiria as “winterish” and bleak, absent of primary colors. The film incorporates stylized dance sequences choreographed by Damien Jalet, which form part of its representation of witchcraft. Principal photography took place in late 2016 and early 2017 in Varese, Italy, and in Berlin. The musical score was composed by Radiohead singer Thom Yorke, who took inspiration from krautrock. The film is dedicated to the memories of Vogue Italia editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani, film director Jonathan Demme and Deborah Falzone.
Dakota Johnson plays Susie, a Mennonite from Ohio, and an enchanting ballet dancer who recently joins Tanz Dance School, an elite and highly regarded dance company In Germany. However, the studio holds one very dark secret, which is the fact that it’s run by a coven of witches, and whoever discovers the secret usually is never heard from or seen again. It’s unclear as to what their true intentions are but they seem to feed off of the energy of the dancers.
Tilda Swinton plays Madame Blanc, the head of the dance company who takes Susie under her wing. They seem to have some sort of love-hate relationship, like two souls that have known each other forever. Susie quickly climbs the ranks as Blanc’s protégé, earning her the role of the protagonist in Volk, an upcoming, much-anticipated performance within the Company. Things take on an even darker turn, plowing head on to an unnerving end with a very bizarre twist.
This Suspiria remake is a visually breathtaking film in a completely different way than its predecessor. The cinematography is over the top gorgeous in every single shot, so much that you find yourself believing you are in the era the film was made in. That’s an incredible feat in itself. It also sports a very hefty 153-minute runtime, which to me personally, never actually felt any longer than perhaps two hours, at most. This version also has so many symbolisms shown and hidden throughout the entire movie, and the camera movements mesmerized me which gave it a sense of dread. Tilda Swinton lead the cast playing three main characters (she’s hardly recognizable in her other two parts).
Dakota Johnson also does a great performance that most people might see as bland or no emotions, but I feel that this was completely intended. The amount of gore and violence is clearly over the top and many will find certain parts extremely hard to watch. Even at that, the acting is creative and brilliant, with a haunting yet beautiful soundtrack, all surrounded by an incredible story. All in all, I completely enjoyed the film and will definitely see it again. I highly recommend it if you’re a true horror fan that doesn’t enjoy picking apart every single detail in a good cult film.
Release Date: October 26, 2018
Runtime: 2 hours, 33 minutes
Genre: Horror, Suspense, Fantasy
Studio: Amazon Studios
Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Chloë Grace Moretz
MPAA Rated: R
Director(s): Luca Guadagnino
Reviewed by: Mad Hatter
Our Rating: 4.0 /5
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