Suspiria ★★★★½

I really didn't think I'd like this, at all. it may well have looked like I didn't want to like it. either way I've been down on this movie for a while and even though I jumped on this ticket I still did not expect to come out of this movie liking it.

this is not the first time, nor will it be the last that I've been a stupid dumb idiot but holy shit was I wrong.
I watched the original a couple of months ago and it only furthered my worries about this; that it wasn't going to look as good, that it would rely too much on modern horror tools in opposition to the almost quaint scares of Argento's film and that it just looked "dull".

if I'm being completely honest, I ended up preferring this to the original. the heat of that take will reveal itself in the coming months as more and more people get to see this but I will stand by it.

firstly, while this film definitely does stray from the dreamlike colours of the original, it is far from ugly. the sets and costumes are stunning and the camerawork is so uniquely confident that only minutes into the film I was realising just how wrong I was. Guadagnino breaks every rule your first year film teacher could throw at you with such vision and thought that you start to wonder what the fuck whoever wrote them was thinking.

I don't have much to say about the score besides that it absolutely fucks and that the first "song" vaguely reminded me of a much darker and more melancholy version of Sufjan Stevens' CMBYN soundtrack. there's a much greater musicality to the music here than in Goblin's score for the original and again I think I preferred it.

I'm not often a horror fan nor am I a horror expert but I was very thoroughly scared by this. there are a couple of legitimately hard to watch moments and a generally very uncomfortable atmosphere. the sound design in these moments is perfect and not to spoil anything but when things crunched they really fucking crunched. the gore, although used sparingly is brutal.

Dakota Johnson's version of Suzy Bannion is interesting because while she kind of has less to do in this story, what she does have is performed with a totally different energy and confidence to Jessica Harper's Suzy that personally I think makes her more interesting to watch. longtime Guadagnino collaborator Tilda Swinton as Madame Blanc is also a very interesting presence in this movie. she definitely has some scarier moments that Swinton is clearly having a lot of fun with but there's also a warmer side to her performance, especially in her chemistry with Johnson that really surprised me. Lutz Ebersdorf, whoever he is was also great.

this change in the dynamic between Suzy and her teachers carries into the biggest change in the story and again, while I don't want to spoil what that means, it's a very welcome change that makes me wonder why I was ever worried about this. Luca Guadagnino's obvious respect for Suspiria (1975) is apparent in more ways than just his choice to remake it, it very much feels like he's revelling in getting to answer questions and build on ideas that have been floating around in his head for decades.

this absolutely did not feel like two and a half hours, to it's credit and while personally I'm not sure I ever need more of this story, I very much enjoyed what I got here.

my only major issue with the film is that there are aspects that felt underwritten. the film takes place over the backdrop of a hostage crisis and the general political turmoil of 1970s Berlin as well as largely touching on war guilt and the Holocaust but I think the story and its setting in time could have benefitted from a greater connection because while I understood the motivations behind aligning the story with these events, it didn't feel totally justified. I also think it could have done with a stronger emotional core because the one that is there, provided by Ebersdorf's Dr. Klemperer never really felt substantial enough until the film's final moments where its resolution, to me came off as unearned.

although (spoilers), it did make for a pretty cool cameo from Jessica Harper, star of the original

so yeah, good movie. about 15 people walked out which I suppose I get but it meant they missed out on things that would make them walk out even harder

Guy liked these reviews