Title – Suspiria (2018)
Director – Luca Guadagnino (Call me by Your Name)
Cast – Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Chloe Grace Moretz
Plot – In Berlin during the late 1970’s, American dancer Susie (Johnson) begins to uncover the dangerous truth that lays at the heart of the dance school she attends that’s run by Madame Blanc (Swinton) and a collection of other woman.
“Why is everyone so ready to think the worst is over?”
Review by Eddie on 21/03/2019
The prospect of reimagining Dario Argento’s seminal and revered 1977 horror Suspiria is the type of unenviable task you wouldn’t of imagined a lot of filmmakers would’ve been clamoring to undertake, yet after curious choice David Gordon Green departed the long mooted new take on the famed tale, in came Italian director Luca Guadagnino to breathe new life into the skin-crawling story of witches, dancers and unnerving occurrences.
Fresh off the back of his critical and awards darling Call me by Your Name, Guadagnino is the type of in-demand director that this project needed, yet while this self-professed “cover version” of Argento’s classic has its moments, you can’t help but feel like in the big scheme of things, this modern Suspiria is a mostly pointless and disappointing affair.
Firstly, far too long at over 2 and a half hours, Guadagnino’s film which is likely to leave many die-hard fans of the original rather cold, is a film with some great moments of terror and suspense (a prolonged contortion dance scene and a bonkers finale) and some beautifully shot sequences but lacks any undeniably intriguing plot enhancements or true scares that make you feel like this does anything better than its forefather.
Led by Dakota Johnson as new Berlin dance student Susie, whose come from a religiously focused upbringing in America and has formed a new friendship with Tilda Swinton’s dance troupe manager Madame Blanc, as the two bond at the possibly ill-intentioned Markos Tanz Dance Academy, Guadagnino’s film has the same air of dread that the original had but by signposting much of the goings on and allowing us to quickly learn about what goes on behind the scenes, much of the potential mystery of the film is gone, meaning we go through a very long middle patch in the film that feels rather laborsome and tiresome.
Making matters much worse is the bizarre decision by Guadagnino and his screenwriter David Kajganich to include a screen hogging side plot of Tilda Swinton’s elderly psychiatrist Dr. Klemperer, whose quest to unearth the disappearance of Chloe Grace Moretz’s missing dance student Patricia takes up far too much of the films attention for very little payoff.
It’s an extremely odd choice, even distracting thanks to the choice to have Swinton play this male role under some terrible make-up effects and it’s hard to know why this decision was made, especially when the films best elements are played out in the surrounds of the dance academy walls.
This decision is a real game changer for the film and no matter the commitments of the performers, the moody score by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke (which isn’t as memorable as Goblin’s original offering) or the wince inducing violence can make up for it at the end of the day.
Final Say –
An overly long and frequently odd new take on a classic horror fable with some seriously unnecessary sub-plots, Suspiria isn’t without moments of merit but considering the talent involved behind and in front of the camera, this is a disappointing exercise that’s curiously devoid of any real lasting scares or frights.
2 ½ humiliated police officers out of 5