Film review: Suspiria

Expectations are high for the remake of cult-classic Suspiria, but does it live up to them? Read on…

Set in a prestigious Berlin dance school, Suspiria revolves around the ambitions of a young dancer, Susie Bannion (Dakota Johnson) and the search for answers by a grieving psychologist. Dance teacher Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton) could hold the key to what they both seek but she isn’t what she initially seems and things take a dark turn in Luca Guadagnino’s highly anticipated remake.

Horror remakes aren’t usually held in very high regard and for the most part with good reason. They tend to end up being made on the cheap by ‘hack’ directors with little respect paid to the original films on which they are based. It’s no surprise then that the announcement of a Suspiria remake was originally met with a muted response. Although very much a cult film, the original Dario Argento version is widely regarded as one of the greatest horror films of all time. Enter stage left: the director of last year’s critical darling Call Me By Your Name and suddenly people sat up and began to take notice… throw in Tilda Swinton, a superb Thom Yorke soundtrack and Suspiria became an enticing proposition.

Hands down, Suspiria is one of the of the most beautiful films of 2018, but not in the way you would expect from an Argento remake. Gone are the ramped up colours of the original and instead we have muted colour palette that sets this apart from its predecessor almost immediately. Every shot is well considered and exquisitely framed, with fast zooms and panning shots that take the audience out of their comfort zone. Couple this with the spectacular dance routines and Guadanigno once again proves that his technical finesse is not be trifled with.

A good horror is nothing without atmosphere though, and it’s delivered in spades here. There is an impending sense of dread that will leave even the most hardened audience feeling uncomfortable for large swathes of the running time. The films finale is a bloody delight and one of the horror highlights of the year. It makes you wait for the pay off, but it is worth it; disturbing and entertaining in equal measure. Your eyes will be glued to the screen.

There are some downsides though. The film is marred by some frankly terrible CGI that feels out of place in a film that pays so much attention to detail and this takes some of the sheen off an otherwise immaculately presented piece of work. Another problem lies with some plot threads that are left unresolved, the character of Patricia (Chloe Grace Moretz), for example is given an interesting politically charged backstory that goes no where and, although often referenced, doesn’t really have any bearing on the film as whole.

The good outweighs the bad in the end and the film can hold its head high with the better horror remakes. It does enough differently to carve its own path whilst paying enough reverence to the original that it still feels like Suspiria and if we must have remakes then you can’t really ask for more than that.

 

 

 

 

Author: Paul, Bath store

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