Second Union

Second Union

REVIEW: Suspiria (2018)

Luca Guadagnino adds a fresh, blood red coat of paint to Dario Argento’s disturbingly beautiful 1977 horror classic, Suspiria. Incomparable to his previous Italian romantic drama, Call Me by Your Name, Guadagnino holds his breath and steps into a nightmarish and disturbing, yet enchanting and mesmerizing world.

In 1977 Berlin, the setting is simultaneously dull and eye catching which sets the tone for the entire film. The cinematographer, Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, does a fantastic job of giving us that nostalgic remake feeling. He uses muted color palettes and quick, sudden zooms as the camera moves within mirrored surfaces.

Remaking a Cult Classic

Starring Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton and Mia Goth, can you really expect anything less than a masterpiece? The chemistry between their characters is something you can detect immediately. Johnson’s performance is incredibly strong and impressive; I now understand why she had to go to therapy after filming. She is going to do so well in this world. Tilda Swinton will terrify you and amaze you in every way as Madam Blanc and Mia Goth puts on a criminally underrated performance. It makes me angry that she’s barely receiving recognition.

The feel of Suspiria seems both old fashioned and retro but refreshing and rejuvenating at the same time. Thom Yorke’s score makes the most chilling moments of the film ten times more excruciating than it would be without – in a good way. In an interview with National Public Radio, he said, “Horror music can fall into a trap of trying to be dark for the sake of it. What’s great about the original Suspiria score is that they use an insistent repetition, which just drives you to the point of distraction.” What Yorke says is interesting because that’s exactly how I feel – like the music was trying to distract me from the horror I was watching.

Dakota Johnson as Susie – source: Amazon Studios

Devilish Design

The production design within this film has some of the most beautifully detailed sets, VFX and costumes I’ve ever seen. Falling in love with a motion picture is so easy when it’s this visually stunning. Even with the grotesque and vile imagery, Luca Guadagino manages to make one of his most elegant films thus far. He continues to prove that he’s an extremely versatile director.

I know I have just written a couple hundred or so words up there, but the truth is, I really don’t know where to begin with Suspiria. The comments I’ve seen comparing Guadagnino’s work to Kubrick are accurate. That’s how good he is. There’s still so much to unpack, examine and discuss.

I am still amazed and to be quite honest, I’m blown away. Luca and his ridiculously talented cast made a film that delves into topics such as dark religion, feminism, and power so delicately. Embarrassingly enough, it’s difficult for me to watch a film like this that’s so vulgar and morbid and not cover my eyes. I recently watched Lars Von Triers’ The House That Jack Built – which was incredible, but so disgusting at some parts that I had to look away. Suspiria is different because even though it actually may be more disturbing, Luca has a way of putting you under a spell which forces you to keep watching. I didn’t look away once.

The Hook – source: Amazon Studios

Suspiria is everything a horror movie should be, everything I expected and more. It’s darkly beautiful, charming and unique. I want to personally thank every single human being who worked on this film.

“Why is everyone so ready to think the worst is over?

Suspiria is a hellish nightmare I never want to wake up from.

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