Suspiria – Italy | USA, 2018 – reviews

‘Give your soul to the dance’

Suspiria is a 2018 American-Italian supernatural horror film directed by Italian filmmaker and co-producer Luca Guadagnino from a screenplay by David Kajganich (The Terror TV series). The Amazon Studios production stars Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, and Mia Goth. Jessica Harper makes a cameo appearance. Suspiria is a Latin word meaning “sighs.”

Susie Bannion, a young American woman, travels to the prestigious Markos Tanz dance company in Berlin in the year 1977. She arrives just as one of the company’s members, Patricia, has disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

As Susie makes extraordinary progress under the guidance of Madame Blanc, the company’s revolutionary artistic director, she befriends another dancer, Sara, who shares her suspicions that the matrons, and the company itself, may be harboring a dark and menacing secret…

Suspiria is a remake of the 1977 Italian film directed by Dario Argento from a script co-written with Daria Nicolodi.  Screenwriter David Kajganich has told the L.A. Times  “I’m not a fan of the original Suspiria, to be honest. I’m a fan of it as an art piece, but as a narrative, it makes almost no sense.”

Thom Yorke of British rock band Radiohead composed the film’s soundtrack score.

Dario Argento has slammed Luca Guadagnino’s remake of his 1977 horror classic, saying: “It did not excite me, it betrayed the spirit of the original film. There is no fear, there is no music. The film has not satisfied me so much.” Argento was speaking to Radio Rai 1’s Un Giorno da Pecora show (as quoted by The Film Stage).

Perhaps more diplomatically, he added it was: “a refined film, like Guadagnino, who is a fine person. Guadagnino makes beautiful tables, beautiful curtains, beautiful dishes, all beautiful…”

The Amazon Studios backed remake took a mere $2,483,472 at the US box office, for a total of $6,348,889 worldwide. With an estimated budget of $20 million, this means it is officially an epic flop.

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“The movie itself was a lot like Hereditary both in length, style and general concept. It’s an epic slow burn with a couple of shocking scenes, more slow burn and a WTF crazy ending. I personally think you could shave off an hour and still have a complete film. But overall it works, if anything the 10/10 cinematography keeps you mesmerized throughout.” All Horror

“For as artful and gorgeous as most of the film is, some of the more horrific moments feel like a step back in terms of camera work and vfx. Even still, the haunting atmosphere and the teasing mysteries of the Satanic depths of this coven casts a hypnotic spell that keeps you engrossed throughout. Suspiria succeeds as an artistic experience, but from a narrative standpoint, it’s a bit of a mess.” Meagan Navarro, Bloody Disgusting

“Even bearing a bevy of imperfections, Suspiria fires on numerous frequencies more meaningful than the ones that only flicker. Powerful performances, bountiful production design, and engrossing fiction count among elements magnetizing audience eyes.” Ian Sedensky, Culture Crypt

“Make no mistake, Suspiria (2018) is a horrific, hypnotic, and sometimes gruesomely perverse experience, but regardless of how you end up feeling about Guadagnino’s bold new direction, I guarantee it’s a film you won’t soon forget.” Heather Wixson, Daily Dead

“Guadagnino has stripped down the original to its springs and reupholstered it into something utterly distinct from – and I believe superior to – Argento’s visually iconic (but, let’s be honest, otherwise slightly precarious) original. Suspiria draws a complex, provocative line through faith, politics, dance and, yes, witchcraft…” Robbie Collin, The Daily Telegraph

” …Guadagnino either doesn’t know how to build suspense or has no interest in such petty commercial concerns. Wedges of exposition and editorial comment take up whole scenes, then disturbing-amusing glimpses of weird sisterly activity (this is an all-female film — even the male lead is a woman) bleed into outrageous horror set-pieces that break into narrative the way song-and-dance numbers do in a musical.” Kim Newman, Empire

“There’s one tremendous sequence where Susie dances furiously while, in another room, her every motion mangles the body of her predecessor in the role — but mostly the film drags: drably shot, over-long, covenish in a damaging way — and weighed down by the decision to set it in Berlin in 1977, the year of the original Suspiria, in an unsuccessful attempt to align it with Baader-Meinhof and Red Army Faction terrorism.” David Sexton, Evening Standard

” …this is a weirdly passionless film. The spark of pure diabolical craziness of Argento has gone, together with his brash streak of black comedy, and in its place is something determinedly upscale and uppermiddlebrow, with indigestible new layers of historical meaning added. The narrative focus is muddled and split…” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“You leave feeling more raggedly disarranged than frightened; Guadagnino seems more concerned with studying the motions and aesthetics of screen violence in exquisite slow motion than with startling or grossing out the viewer. Suspiria serves its audience a buffet of atmospherically grotesque sights and invites us mainly to feast on their beauty.” Guy Lodge, The Guardian

“It’s all quite aesthetically striking and yet the new Suspiria remains distancing, often borderline inert, not to mention only marginally more coherent than the original version, which showed as little sustained attention to narrative drive as it did to nuanced performance.” David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

“As grim and severe as Argento’s film was ecstatic and harlequin, this Suspiria offers a richer, more explicit interpretation of that old nightmare; it digs up the latent anxieties of that story like someone picking at a scab and watching with a queasy mix of horror and delight as the pus seeps out and makes everything literal. Guadagnino’s Suspiria eschews the scary for the unnerving.” David Ehlrich, IndieWire

“It’s still the story of a coven of witches hidden within a dance company, but I love the additional exploration of the mythology and the factions threatening to rip the coven apart. The dancing as spell work is amazing. The horror and gore is fantastic. It’s an incredible-looking film. The atmosphere is perfect.” Jonathan Hansen, Lewton Bus

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