Suspiria ★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.


Boasts one gruesomely effective setpiece (Susie unwittingly mangling Olga's body via dance) and one creepily memorable moment (a hypnotized/spellbound cop's sexual humiliation). Plus I wrote of the original that "Argento seems a bit torn regarding how to make witchcraft scary," and that's certainly not an issue here. Otherwise, ugh. Some folks automatically bridle at the word "pretentious," but rethinking Suspiria as a Holocaust drama can hardly be described any other way—this is very much the Guadagnino I'd previously kinda hated, subordinating everything to facile provocation and empty showmanship. (Time will tell whether Call Me by Your Name is an anomaly or represents an alternate mode to which he'll frequently return.) Dakota Johnson makes a poor substitute for Jessica Harper, playing Susie as an ambitious cipher; this ultimately "makes sense," for those who care a whit about either version's nonsensical narrative, but voids the movie of any real tension. Likewise, Swinton's Strangelove routine works thematically, but still creates a flatline every time Klemperer is onscreen. (One might also note that this character muddles the intended feminism: He's punished for not believing a threatened woman, but in a context where disbelief is perfectly rational.) Couldn't even really enjoy the batshit finale, which goes so far over the top + on for so long that it soon becomes numbing. Extra demerits for the borderline-offensive epilogue, for Thom Yorke's anti-Goblin keening, and for squandering Sylvie Testud.