Suspiria Review

Suspiria Theatrical Poster

The original Suspiria became a cult classic because of the dichotomy between the beautiful and horrifying imagery. In other words, it’s like a beautiful fairy tale from hell. To this day, the film stands as the gold standard for any and all Italian horror films. So it would only make sense that the renowned Italian filmmaker, Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name), would want to tackle Italy’s greatest horror film. But is Guadagnino’s remake able to be on the same level as Dario Argento’s cult classic?

Unfortunately, Guadagnino’s Suspiria remake is a soulless arthouse film that wastes the talents of its eclectic cast. Be that as it may, the film does improve upon the original with its tight script and amazing cinematography.

Suspiria follows Susie Bannion, an American dancer who travels to Berlin, Germany in 1977 to join the world’s most renowned dance company. However, the dance company holds a deep dark secret that will engulf Susie in a maddening darkness.

Suspiria - Dakota Johnson

As good as the original was, Luca Guadagnino’s remake completely strips away all of these things in order to make an art house interpretation of the film. In its own way, Guadagnino’s remake is beautiful in its own right. It has that 70s analog feels to it with the way the film was shot. Appropriate for the era that the film takes place in. Not to mention, the cinematography is very reminiscent of the era too. The long zooms and stationary pans are just some of the 70s style cinematography that you’ll see in the film.

But it’s because of these elements that make the film so unnecessarily long. A lot of shots are ten-to-fifteen seconds long. One would think it’s to build tension but instead, Suspiria uses it simply for artistic purposes and not much else. Not to mention, the film has a lot of these long shots which adds up to a rotund two hour and thirty-minute film. A full hour longer than the original Argento film. At the same time, certain scenes take a long time to develop too.

Nevertheless, the brutality in Suspiria will definitely make you cringe a lot. Not only will you have to cover your eyes but you’re going to have to cover your ears too. The audiovisuals just look and sound so incredibly real. So if you’re susceptible to these kinds of scenes then you might want to prepare yourself. Unfortunately, the film isn’t scary at all. You won’t find any jump scares or menacing tension in this film at all. The film is atmospherically creepy and finds its horror through its brutality. So if you’re the kind of viewer that isn’t scared of that then you’ll find Suspiria to be really tame.

Suspiria - Tilda Swinton

Even the cast, doesn’t bring much to the table. That is not to say that they didn’t do a great job but Mia Goth is the only one who’s able to give this film some personality and emotion. She delivers a performance that’s full of life and panic. Then again, her character is the only one that has some depth to them.

As for Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton, they go through the film as if nothing is going on. They’re emotionally at the same level throughout the entire film. In other words, Swinton is stuck in teacher mode while Johnson is stuck as the doe-eyed overachiever. There’s just no emotion to their performance.

Overall, Suspiria had the makings of being an incredible remake. The material, cast, and director should’ve been a perfect combination. Yet the essence of what made the original so good is gone. What we basically got is a way-too-serious and emotionless arthouse film that doesn’t come close to Dario Argento’s original cult classic. Nevertheless, the film is still atmospherically creepy thanks to its amazing cinematography. And at the very least, we do get a scene that does rival the infamous hanging scene from the original film.

Rating: 3/5 atoms

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1350 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.