Suspiria ★★★★

The philistines have remade Suspiria, how could they?

Fortunately, they haven't remade it so much as blown it a kiss with a bravura dark fantasy that echoes the story beats of the original but is very much its own beast. Luca Guadagnino sagely resists the temptation to eclipse Argento's masterpiece stylistically, bringing a sombre palette of earth tones and a more downbeat feel to the party. It's really effective when it sticks to its MO; rich in atmosphere, and grandiose without being OTT. Where it strays, it's less successful. The biggest drop of the ball is the final act (of six!). It clearly wants the slow burn to hiss and crackle its way to an orgiastic climax, but the jarring shift to red filter and gory mayhem comes off as campy and vaguely comical - Helena Markos looks a LOT like Butterball and there's some really distracting effects. CG blood sprays generally look shit. The black worm hole vulva isn't much better.

The other problem with the film is Guadagnino's attempt to site it in reality. He says the world of the original film exists in a bubble, which is true, but injections of news footage covering the hijacking of Lufthansa Flight 181 don't suddenly give his version a political dimension or a sense of place, they just make it a bubble with a TV in it, proclaiming "Yes folks, it's 1977, and you're in Berlin". The Third Reich tinged back story of Josef, the 'witness', is also a slightly unsophisticated way to imbue the film with greater gravitas and emotional resonance, which it really doesn't need.

These problems don't diminish it a whole lot though. I love the look and feel of the film; it's genuinely malevolent and unsettling - and the remote dance deconstruction of Olga is one of the most brutally inventive things I've seen in a long time. Tilda Swinton is fab, playing three different roles; there's visceral horror, dark dream imagery and occult power struggles, building on the mythology of The Three Mothers. If Guadagnino hadn't had the temerity to call his film Suspiria, it would be a lot less divisive, but he wanted to pay homage to an inspiration he clearly loves and for me, it offers up a great riff on that beautiful nightmare without tarnishing the star of the original.

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