Only a year after the critically successful Call Me By Your Name, Luca Guadagnino has returned with another film. Suspiria is a remake of the 1977 Dario Argento classic of the same name. It tells the story of Suzie Bannion, a young American, who moves to Berlin to join a prestigious dance troupe; one that she soon discovers is run by witches.
Almost all of the performances are phenomenal. Dakota Johnson gives a layered and impressive performance, but without a doubt Tilda Swinton is the shining star of this film. Playing three characters, her performances in all roles were very different and ultimately flawless. the best I’ve seen all year by far. The only bad performance was by Chloe Grace Moretz, in what was little more than a cameo, ruined a couple of critical scenes.
An outstanding aspect of the film is its editing, especially in the dance sequences. In the first of them, it cuts between a dance rehearsal and another event perfectly, with the editing driving the power of the actions, and each cut hits as hard as each action. Along with the editing, Thom Yorke’s astonishing score and original songs are highlights of the film. While one of the original songs doesn’t fit the final scene as well as it could, it doesn’t destroy the scene, and the song itself is spectacular.
The visuals are incredible; beautiful cinematography, costume design, and direction, all of which provide stunning and memorable visuals to many scenes. It’s visual presentation is very unlike the original Suspiria, which had very vibrant neon colours taking up the entire frame. In this version most shots either have a grey or unsaturated yellow-red colour pallet, which helps set the tone and give an accurate representation of the time period.
Suspiria tells its story through a prologue, six chapters, and an epilogue. The main flaws in this set up are the prologue and epilogue. The prologue is an alright scene that is dragged down by Moretz’s aforementioned bad acting. The epilogue is an awful scene, that feels useless and takes away from the amazing ending of chapter six. Those scenes disrupt the pacing significantly.
The special effects are problematic. While a lot are amazing, some are an eyesore. At points there are CGI blood spurts that are embarrassing in their execution, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re stock effects. My final issue is some of the dream sequence/flashbacks – some work and some are just really cheesy.
Suspiria is a sensational experience and a great film. It is also one of the few remakes better than the original. This film that will definitely stay as one of my favorites of the year.