Suspiria ★★★★

Scavenger Hunt 50 - #6 - Watch a film that is not set in the US

"Delusions are lies that tell the truth."

I FINALLY SAW Suspiria, GUYS. Quick backstory: when I saw that this film would be distributed by Amazon, I foolishly convinced myself that I'd be able to wait until it debuted on Prime Video. After months of such waiting, the day finally arrived yesterday and I immediately sat down to watch it. I really dug it and now I am kicking myself for not seeing it sooner. Suffice it to say that I've learned my lesson.

Okay, so now that that's out of the way, let's dive into the film itself. I found Suspiria to be, in a word, fascinating. With Luca Guadagnino sitting in the director's chair, it's not the least bit surprising to me that the film is fiercely confident in its idiosyncratic identity. In fact, I'd say that you could easily see this as high horror art, elegantly painted with despair and dread.

Guadagnino's directing is terrific here, employing a more sporadically frenzied approach than the meditative one he used in the superb Call Me By Your Name. The actors are also solid with a sensational Tilda Swinton (shocker, I know) doing a remarkable job with three(!) characters. Giving her the opportunity to vanish into Dr. Klemperer was an inspired move that provided her an avenue to spread her talented wings in ways she hadn't previously. She was snubbed during last year's award season.

Aesthetically, Suspiria gets tens across the board. Almost every single scene is dripping with as much dreamlike mood as it is literally dripping with precipitation. The sets are subtly realized and the horror imagery is as memorable as I've seen in recent years (one scene in particular stuck out to me as astonishingly twisted).

This is a layered, dense film that almost requires re-watching to fully grasp its several story threads and, because of this heavy and deliberately opaque narrative load, it can sometimes feel unwieldy. That said, this has it where it counts and doles out some seriously effective moments that I doubt most of us could easily shake.

Suspiria is the work of a true uncompromising auteur and, because of this, it will easily put off many. Those that find themselves as entranced as I was, however, will want to revel in its unique madness.

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2018 Ranked

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