review by Bobby Blakey
In 1977 director Dario Argento unleashed his bizarre horror flick Suspiria on the masses. Now Call Me By Your Name director Luca Gudagnino took on the job to bring the film back to the screen for a new generation with his own re-imagining starring Dakota Johnson, Swinton, Mia Goth, and Chloë Grace Moretz. Could this latest take on the horror classic offer up something fresh that does the original justice or will it not be worth performing?
Suspiria follows young American dancer Susie Bannion who arrives in 1970s Berlin to audition for the world-renowned Helena Markos Dance Company, stunning the troupe’s famed choreographer, Madame Blanc, with her raw talent. When she vaults to the role of lead dancer, Olga, the previous lead, breaks down and accuses the company’s female directors of being witches. As rehearsals intensify for the ﬁnal performance of the company’s signature piece, Susie and Madame Blanc grow strangely close, suggesting that Susie’s purpose in the company goes beyond merely dancing. Meanwhile, an inquisitive psychotherapist trying to uncover the company’s dark secrets enlists the help of another dancer, who probes the depths of the studio’s hidden underground chambers, where horriﬁc discoveries await.
I honestly had thought I saw the original until I started watching this latest version and quickly realized I never saw it all the way through. This probably helped this viewing as I had nothing to compare it too. Initially I found it pretty slow and uninspiring to the point I almost bailed, but decided to try and let it get going and glad I did. While it still never fully pulled me in the sheer bizarreness of it all worked for me. I love movies that might make zero to no sense on some level if it is so left field strange it can keep you invested and this film does just that. Paying attention you can understand what is happening for the most part,
but it still feels like it just does its own thing at times and that is why it worked.
When the film picks up it gets stranger and offers up some great visuals. The overall tone embraces the 70s looking like it was actually shot during that time.
For anyone that might not have known otherwise or the actors it would be near impossible to tell that it was a recently made film which adds to the charm of its wicked greatness. The cast are all good bringing a wide range of pain and suffering across the board, but seeing Tilda Swinton in a duel role as both man and woman was an interesting choice. There are some really gory moments that are executed to perfection with a brutal beauty to them making it really impact the journey you take with this film.
The ending of the film takes everything off the rails and worked for me. It almost felt like a completely different film but at the same time brought all the strangeness full circle to cement a graphic blood soaked ending that you can’t forget. There are some elements that some will find hard to watch but are also some of the more brilliantly gruesome visuals. This film will not work for most and it is totally understandable why it won’t, but I found it mesmerizing and horrifically beautiful by its finale and appreciate what was put together.