Evan DePasquale’s review published on Letterboxd:
My Rating: 8.7/10
My Review: This was such an experience. I went into this 2018 "remake" expecting just that, a straight up remake of the classic 1977 giallo film by Dario Argento. What I got was rather a "reimagination" or "a different angle/interpretation" of the original Suspiria. An American girl travels to West Berlin to attend a Dance Academy, but not everything is what it seems. This is the basic plot of both films, but besides that and character names, that is where most of the similarities end. Luca Guadagnino has crafted an original take on the story that includes a wide arrange of themes including: abuse of power, femininity, motherhood, real world parallels, supernatural forces, and the question of what really is inherently evil? There is a lot going on in this film and knowing these themes beforehand will be a benefit as there is always something to focus on throughout every shot, piece of dialogue, or even the well choreographed dance numbers.
So, for the things that were amazing about this film. The cast is great with Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson putting up not only great performances, but great chemistry as well. The music by Thom Yorke of Radiohead was great and took some ideas from the original 1977 score, but gave it a better sense of dread. The cinematography and colors of the film were a little bland which bothered many, but not so much me. Like I have stated, there are many differences between the films, but I think it benefits this film to a great extent. The dance sequences were great as well. Lastly, the sheer guts that Guadagnino has to show this kind of imagery in a somewhat mainstream horror film is commendable. Disturbing imagery and a sense of atmosphere are the aspects a love the most in horror movies in my opinion.
The things I did not like about this film include:
- Having so many references to the real world Germany in 1977
- Somewhat confusing (not because a lot of the film can be up to interpretation)
- One character's accent makes the dialogue hard to follow and understand
- A tad too long
The real world references are going to make a casual viwer wonder why it is in the film, without doing any research into the subjects. The psychotherapist's accent is a big yikes at times. This film is 2hrs. 32 mins. which is very long, but of course I can't think of what to cut to shorten the runtime. As stated before, the original and this film are on pretty opposite ends for many factors. The original was a general supernatural even slightly campy horror flick, while this is super dark and serious. The colors are bright and in your face in the original, but bleak and drowned out here. If fans of the original can come to terms that this is not a remake then I think most fans of the original will like this film as well.
Overall, this is probably my favorite horror movie to come out this year and I think fans of the original or viewers that want to see a film that is both visually striking and thought-provoking will want to seek this one out. I hope Luca makes some sequels and a universe out of this.
P.S. I went to a full theater showing and probably 5-7 people walked out before the climax, which I can assume is because of either the slow burn nature of this film or the disturbing imagery on display.