A cinematic treat for Tilda Swinton fans which happens to be a love letter to Dario Argento’s classic namesake. This Suspiria review is brought to you by AboutFlick’s Mr T.
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Review: Despite sharing its name with the 1977 film, Suspiria is not exactly a remake of Dario Argento’s classic, but merely draws inspiration from it. Set in post-war Berlin, it follows the story of an American girl called Susie Bannion (Dakota Johnson) as she joins a dance company whose directors have been accused of witchcraft.
While the original explored themes of occultism and played with bold colours, the 2018 film isn’t so much a film about sorcery and magic, as it is about power and how it can corrupt anyone who yields it. Post-war Berlin serves as the perfect backdrop, and the director draws parallels between political misconduct of the era and the systemic rot in the coven. A sense of unease permeates throughout the movie, and the otherworldly feeling is enhanced by the soundtrack, scored by Radiohead vocalist Thom Yorke.
Tilda Swinton portrays three different characters who cannot be more far off from one another. Yet, she manages to do justice to every one of them. One feels empathy for the senile Jewish psychiatrist who has failed both his wife and patient, refusing to listen to what they have to say. She is equally captivating as one of the matrons in the dance company who wants to save Susie from the disfigured, loathsome and ageing witch, also played by Swinton. Dakota Johnson fails to bring too many expressions to the table but ultimately doesn’t do too badly with her ability to communicate through gestures and body language. Mia Goth plays her friend who gradually starts to realize that something is wrong around her and pays the consequences when she starts investigating. After watching Mia captivate the screen in High Life (2018) and The Survivalist (2015), I have to say that in my opinion she would have been better suited as the protagonist rather than Dakota Johnson.
Anyway, Suspiria is not a typical run of the mill horror story that will appeal to audiences craving a good scare. The director uses symbolism to get his point across rather than relying on cheap scares and many things are left open to interpretation. Suspiria is not perfect though, it is a bit long and has definite pacing issues. But it’s also an example of avant-garde filmmaking, something which Darren Aronofsky would be proud of. So do watch this cinematic treat for Tilda Swinton fans before it disappears from Amazon Prime Video. You’ll not be disappointed.
Rating: My rating for Suspiria is 4/5.
Who should watch this: If you’ve seen the original Italian classic, or if you love experimental horror movies, Suspiria will be an engrossing watch. Also don’t miss out The Shining (1980), Black Swan (2010), Hereditary (2018), The Fountain (2006) and The Witch (2015).