Suspiria (2018)

Let’s talk about Suspiria.

I think I’ve become numb to remake news. There has been so many at this point that I’ve learned that if I don’t want to be in a permanent state of outrage, I just need to shrug my shoulders and get over it. However, when they announced the Suspiria remake, I was angry. This is a special horror movie. Made by Dario Argento, this movie was shocking and terrifying in such a special way. Visually, it was like nothing else out at the time and the only movie I can really compare it to is The Shining in the way that there’s blood everywhere and you have that feeling that something terrible is about to happen. But here they were, about to remake it and probably ruin it. But do they?

The story is much the same as the original one. Susie, this time played by Dakota Johnson, heads over to Germany to join a ballet school. She soon discovers that something is a bit off with the ballet school as a tonne of horror movie stuff starts happening.

Where the movie marks itself as different from the original is the use of colour. The original Suspiria was daubed in bright colours in order to create an unsettling, almost alien environment for the viewer. This is one of the main things people remember from the movie as it’s quite rare to see such colour in horror movies was and remains rare. Most likely to make his own mark, the director Luca Guadagnino has decided to drain the colours out of the movie and make it seem lifeless. This is deliberate and not a criticism by the way, it works for the movie’s benefit. It makes the ballet school seem like an inhumane place and sets it apart from the dance schools you may have been to. The main horror of those places are pushy mums rather than something supernatural.

But what the movie replicates well is that Italian horror style, giallo if you are being particularly nerdy. From the crash zooms, the lingering shots and the amount of blood on show, this is truly something that is paying ode to the classics. And it makes you feel the exact same that those old Italian horror movies did. That because it is so different from the usual band of horror movies you see, anything can happen which means the chances of seeing the main character getting brutally murdered go up. And while the quality of the horror genre has gone up a lot in recent years with even the bad movies usually being unique about it, this is still something completely different from the norm. It stands out because of the giallo style and I appreciate that.

And by god does it use that style well. Some of the scenes in this movie are incredibly tough to get through. There is a particular scene where Susie is dancing the lead for the first time and it is somehow severely hurting another student who is claiming that the teachers at the school are behind the disappearance of another girl and that they are witches. And by severely hurting I mean breaking bones, making limbs point in the completely wrong direction and just mutilate this poor lady. You can’t watch it. Well, I can’t. It will have you hiding behind the sofa, blocking your site with anything you have to hand, just trying not to see it. Yet, you won’t turn it off. You will peer around whatever you are hiding behind you see what happens next. It’s shocking and brutal but in the perfect way. And it’s not the only scene like that, this movie is full of shocking scenes which are incredibly tough to watch.

The only reason I’m not truly in love with this movie is that I’m not a fan of the ending. I won’t spoil it but it is different from the original and while it’s definitely in the style of the film, it does get a bit ridiculous. The movies earn some faith to get away with it but it’s not scary and I did laugh more than I did wince at this part. I’m not going to be that guy and say the original ending was better because while it was passable, it was nothing that special and in fact a bit too clean for this sort of movie for my liking. But this was is a bit too odd, a bit too different for different’s sake. I think some will like it because of how weird it is, but it’s not for me.

I am very thankful that the Suspiria remake ended up being rather good. The dread of seeing this was replaced by the all-encompassing dread the movie creates as you worry that someone is about to get killed in an incredibly brutal way. This is a really good horror movie which will make you flinch and hide behind the sofa. You know those screenings where people are screaming in their seats that are obviously faked for promotional reasons? I’d believe it for this one, if only because I loudly swore during that particular scene. Give it a go, hate me later for it.

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Former Head of Movies for Screen Critics. Film Reviews now hosted on Medium.

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A Guy Who Talks About Movies

A Guy Who Talks About Movies

Former Head of Movies for Screen Critics. Film Reviews now hosted on Medium.

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