This is a dark atmospheric journey, that will mess with your mind, body and soul. It did not help that I was totally stoned. Suspiria drags you to the depths of hell.
As darkness swirls at the centre of a world-renowned dance company, one that will engulf the artistic director, an ambitious young dancer and a grieving psychotherapist. Some will succumb to the nightmare. Others will finally wake up.
So yes I got stoned for Suspiria. For someone who never does that, I felt to get the full experience of this film I needed to be a little under the influence. Boy, it did not disappoint. It’s legal here in the Great White North, so if you have a problem with that, take a hike!
But any who, Suspiria is a remake of the 1977 classic that was really genre defining when it was released. If you go back and watch the original you will notice the use of bright and vibrant colours and the use of colour is so highly regarded for that film, that going into the new version I expected the same. This movie is not at all like its predecessor when it comes to the colour scheme, rather I found the movie to be mostly dull. A lot of grey and beige, I guess it makes sense as this is 1970’s West Germany, but still to go from one extreme to another, probably through off a lot of fans in the process. I went into Suspiria with a open mind, I usually don’t go see movies like this, this is an art house film, with a ton of layers, symbolism and metaphors that are thrown into your face. After sleeping on it and really thinking hard about it today, I enjoyed Suspiria for what it is and if you don’t mind the run time of just over 2 hours and 30 minutes and enjoy the horror genre, I would recommend this movie for you.
I won’t go to deep into the plot or details of it because I don’t want to spoil anything, but like the original, it’s about a dance company that doubles as a breeding ground for Witches. We have Susie (Dakota Johnson) the new girl from Ohio, who sweeps the studio off their feet within seconds of her audition. Mainly her teacher Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton), who is a world renowned dancer and someone the girls at the company greatly respect. They immediately form a close and unique bond, and just in a few short days, Susie is dancing in the lead role for the company. Now I mentioned that this dance company is run by witches, so when I mean dance, they are secretly performing rituals, because these witches need the perfect sacrifice in order to resurrect their master. So Susie befriends a few of the girls in her class, one girl in particular Sara (Mia Goth) who over time becomes suspicious to her surroundings and what might be going on behind the scenes. You see one girl has “gone missing” Patricia (Chole Grace Moretz) who has found compassion and friendship in an 80 year old psychotherapist Josef (Tilda Swinton). Throughout the movie I knew something was up with this old man, he didn’t look right, it wasn’t until after the movie I found out that Tilda plays the role. She’s playing two parts here. It really just threw me off because something didn’t look right. Whether it was the makeup or the mask she was wearing, it didn’t look great and it was taking me out of the movie completely. So when Patricia goes missing, Josef takes it upon himself to investigate which ultimately leads him to Sara. They discuss the possibility of the Madame’s being witches.
Speaking of witches and witchcraft. This is a horror movie and there is some extreme graphic nature throughout. Without giving it away, there’s a scene which involves a room full of mirrors and some torture that well is the energize bunny because it just keeps going and going. Remember that Simpson’s episode, “Stop! Stop it! He’s already dead!” – yeah this is the equivalent to that. After about 30 seconds I was like this poor girl has had enough, 3 minutes later, I was telling myself – WHY IS THIS STILL HAPPENING? Without doubt the scene that will be stuck in my head for a long time and it’s the scene you will remember most when walking away from this movie. That was the highlight of the film for me, because the rest of the movie is so overstuffed and filled with fluff. It was hard to keep track of what was really going on, who was who and what these witches were even doing in West Germany to begin with. There is zero and I mean zero backstory or even acknowledgment of where they came from or how long they have been here, and I found that to be annoying. This movie is so long, and the fact they didn’t even decide to address that tells me the director Luca Guadagnino who is coming off Call Me By Your Name maybe bit off more than he could chew with Suspiria. It’s just so congested and at times confusing and I just think a few seconds to explain itself could have done wonders for the overall product.
I haven’t been the biggest fan of Dakota Johnson, but I must say, she impressed me here. I throughly enjoyed her overall performance in Suspiria, and I almost feel like she was the perfect choice for this role. Her quiet demeanour, and the way she moves and her body language really spoke volumes to me. She honestly kind of saved the movie from being a complete and utter train wreck. Her chemistry with Tilda Swinton is also great, she is another standout among the cast. Although I found it totally unnecessary that she play the role of Josef, for the reasons I mentioned above. The performances are certainly not the downfall to Suspiria. Pacing issues, bloated-ness and overall a lack of structure in the film making are the reasons this movie just isn’t as a whole, very good. Yes, there are some great moments of horror and fear to be had, some intense and gruesome deaths, but I expect that in a horror movie. What I want and what needs to happen in order for that genre to be successful is a well put together film. That isn’t achieved here with Suspiria, and I found myself lost for the most part.
All things considered, I’m happy I saw it. I went outside my comfort zone with this one and I believe some people will love it. But for the average movie-goer, this will not be their cup of tea. There’s also one witch that looks identical to Tina from Bobs Burgers, so maybe this is some sort of prequel or something, I dunno.
Check ya later
Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Suspiria = 60/100