suspiria | remake | witch | witches | coven | luca guadagnino | david kajganich | dakota johnson | tilda swinton | doris hick | fantasy | mystery | thriller | italy | united states | malgorzata bela | chloe grace moretz | angela winkler | vanda capriolo | alek wek
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Writer: David Kajganich
Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton and Doris Hick
This film was one I was intrigued to check out. The original Suspiria is one of my favorite horror films of all time. I thought it was interesting when I saw that this version was going to run 2 and half hours as the original was just an hour and half. The official synopsis for this film is a darkness swirls at the center 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.
We start off with Patricia (Chloë Grace Moretz). She seems to be manic and goes to the psychotherapist from the synopsis, Dr. Josef Klemperer (Tilda Swinton). This film takes place in 1977 in Berlin, so it is interesting that the Berlin Wall is up. Building from that, there is a lot dealing with what happened in World War II as well. As this young woman goes through a manic episode, we see that Josef thinks she is delusional. We do learn that Patricia is possible working with the RAF around the terrorist event when they took over an airplane full of Jews is part of the backdrop.
The film follows Susie Bannion (Dakota Johnson). We get an image of a mother (Malgorzata Bela) as she is passing away and Susie has fled from her Mennonite farm to dance for this famous company. She meets with Miss Tanner (Angela Winkler) who needs her to audition. She is a natural and this draws Madame Blanc (Swinton) to it as well. She is accepted into the academy.
There is a struggle of power over the coven and whether or not to continue on with their plot. Sara (Mia Goth) is the next best dancer since Patricia has disappeared. She becomes friends with Susie immediately. She also tries to figure out what has happened to her friend. They are trying to bring Susie along, but her natural abilities and feeling a prescence that helps her dance.
As I stated above, I love the original film even though the story might be lacking a bit. When I saw that this one had a run time of an extra hour, I was intrigued that they would actually flesh of more of a story, which they did. The problem though was I thought there were some of flaws to the story still. I’m not going to spoil this film, but I will say some things that happen early on. The first issue I had was there is a division of power. There is a vote of who should leave this coven, Blanc or Helena Markos (Swinton). This changes something from the original film and I wasn’t the biggest fan of them not trying to do the same thing for Mother Suspirium (Bela).
Now something I really liked about this film was fleshing out Susie’s character a lot more. We see her mother passing away, but through dreams this is fleshed out more. I love that she was raised as a Mennonite, which to those that don’t know are very similar to Amish. They are allowed to use some machines, but it brings a level of corruption to the more devoutly religious. We also see that there is a perversion to Susie as well. Her coming to the school she is embracing it even more.
The dance scenes in this film are captivating as well. I saw this film with my girlfriend, so I asked her about the dances done in the film. She stated that for a dance that was created in the 1940’s, it is a bit too modern. It might even be a little too modern for the 1970’s. What I took from this though, being that it is a coven, it has to be more vulgar and I actually really like the idea. I’m not normally into films about dance, but for whatever reason they were done amazing and it sucked me.
Pacing for a film that is this long is something that is important. I do feel that this film is a bit lengthy. We get some things that I don’t necessarily think are important. With that said though, I didn’t find it boring. I was drawn in from the beginning and it held my attention throughout. There are some great intercuts of two different things happening the same time that are similar in building the story or in something happening. I really liked that. I also don’t think the epilogue for the film was needed. I think I would have rather it ends at the insane climax. I do get now why the epilogue was there and why it decided to be included.
Going along with this, the acting for the film I thought was amazing. Johnson surprised me at how well she played her role. She has such innocence when she arrives, but we see that there has been ‘sin’ in her past. She embraces the darkness that is within the academy and I think a lot of that is wanted to be like Blanc. She wants to be great. Swinton was phenomenal in this film. I thought the portrayal of three characters were unique and very well done. She is such a talented actress so I give her a lot of credit. Moretz was solid for the role that she plays, even though it is quite small. I wanted to comment on Goth, who is beautiful and great in the film as well. The rest of the cast round out for what the film needed. Shout out to Jessica Harper, who was Susie in the original.
The effects for the film were great as well. This film did something that the original didn’t, which was body horror. There was some CGI used there, but I didn’t have an issue with it. There were two scenes in particularly that really had me cringe, so kudos to the effects team. I do think there were some practical effects in the film as well which I thought was also good. The film was shot beautifully so I do have to commend them for that as well. It is actually quite the opposite of the original visually, but still works.
Score for the film was something that I thought was good, but unfortunately underutilized. I thought there were some times where the score was perfect. During the main dance scene and the climax, it fit beautifully. The film seemed to go with quiet scenes for a few stretches where I thought have a lower key score could have helped build the suspense. I don’t think the score was bad, just not used as I would have liked.
Now with that said, I took some time before writing this to let it process. There is a lot going on this film and they definitely added much to the story. I do feel like not everything worked with the film, but a lot of it did. I thought the acting, effects and how the film was shot was amazing. The editing for the most part was good, but I do think that the epilogue and a bit from the film could have been cut to tighten it up. The score was also underutilized in my opinion. I still think this is a really good film and I have it just a bit below the original. It is one that I will go back to check out again to gather more understanding of it though. It’s not for everyone, but I really did enjoy it.
My Rating: 9 out of 10