Suspiria ★★★½


HOOPTOBER 1.0 — Film #15

Not quite the smashing success I had hoped for when I began my first Hooping, but making it about halfway through the list proved well enough in the end—though that's not to say I won't still continue working my way through it in the coming weeks (as soon as my studies calm down). A fitting, if incomplete, end to October with Guadagnino's remake of Argento's Suspiria on Halloween night. Wishing everyone had a great one and a great month of horror watching!

Some minor spoilers, in brackets.

My third Guadagnino. Essentially rings as about the same quality as Argento's venture (with a single digit higher than the original), though writer David Kajganich takes the paper-thin plot of the original and overcompensates a great deal narratively; a secondary story revolving around a psychologist investigating the coven (which, this film outright confirms right away that there is some witchy woman business going on in the dance academy, while the mystery is kept suspended for quite some time in Argento's) never quite comes to fruition though try it does, and the intermittent mentioning of the hijacking of Lufthansa Flight 181, in some effort to enforce a political leaning toward what I assume is themes of fascism and Germany post-World War II, registers more as a waste of time than something dexterously commenting on the bizarre happenings occurring inside a studio that is unsurprisingly led by the go-to 'weird' actress Tilda Swinton (here playing three separate roles; two under the guise of heavy makeup) who is positively extraordinary here as always, and has firmly situated herself as Guadagnino's muse through the years having appeared in both I Am Love and A Bigger Splash before this. Not entirely sure either on how well Thom Yorke's score works here, all of my aversion located solely on the tunes here that have his voice—which almost grievously wounds the climactic sequence. Could see Guadagnino trying once again with the likened song list he and Sufjan Stevens composed for Call Me by Your Name, but vocals don't quite work here when extremely surreal and grotesque imagery is playing out on the screen. The performances are all well-rounded and the dialogue has been overhauled—the most welcome improvement over Argento's vision as that film is rife with malfunctioning acting and wordsmithing. Gone is the vibrant color from the original, Guadagnino instead taking a liking to cool, neutral tones [but the deep reds do arrive later in a way that both excites an admirer of Argento's color palette and strengthens Mother's presence as crimson colors seem to spill out from her person, drenching everything around her in blood-red hues] in order to both instill a creeping, naturalistic dread as well as a commentary on the division of Germany and cold war fear. Creative editing (that was admittedly, at first, off-putting in how quickly cut it is, though the numerous J and L cuts are splendid) and cinematography that whips and snap zooms in formalist frenzy, along with a welcome, dread-inducing expansion on the giallo classic, but there is a noticeable amount of imperfection here that keeps it—oddly enough—on the same rung as its forebear.

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