Suspiria ★★★★½

This is a REALLY good movie!

Trance-like pace, haunting camerawork and set design, one of the few films where you really notice lighting. Initially I thought this would be a style-over-substance film, but to my surprise, I actually got invested in the story and cared about the characters. Jessica Harper is really good. Considering how little depth the script gives her as well as some bad dialog, she's able to become a charismatic lead you care about with just her face and how she emotes. I liked the mostly-female cast; it's refreshing to see a horror film that doesn't feel exploitative or misogynistic. Movies about witches are always the best. Whereas vampires and zombies are just monsters that have been done to death, witchcraft is interesting and makes us think more about the nature of evil.

The main flaw of the movie is its horrible dialog and obvious dubbing. I would have preferred to just watch it in Italian with English subtitles, but the DVD didn't have that option. Supposedly Argento intended the main characters to be children, but was forced to make them teens/young adults by the studio, yet he kept the dialog the same. It shows as the characters all sound juvenile and must deliver a lot of clunky dialog. Also, why is there an unnecessary voiceover narration (provided by Argento) over the opening credits? It's really distracting and it's weird that it talks over the middle of the credits that then go on for like a minute after it ends.

When it comes to arthouse horror films, I still prefer SANTA SANGRE. Still, there's no denying this is a visual marvel and should be required viewing for all DP's and set designers. The tagline in the trailer sums it up perfectly: "The only thing scarier than the last 12 minutes of SUSPIRIA are the first 92!"

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