REVIEW: Suspiria is a Beautiful Nightmare
Luca Guadagnino returns to the big screen after last year’s Call Me By Your Name with the marvelous SUSPIRIA. Based on the Dario Argento movie of the same name, Suspiria re-imagines the story of Susie Bannion and the dance academy led by witches with haunting and disturbing visuals that shouldn’t be ignored.
Our story begins when Susie Bannion (Dakota Johnson) joins the illustrious Markos Dance Academy during the German Autumn. A period of strife in 1977 Berlin. Before her arrival a student of the academy, Patricia (Chloë Grace-Moretz) tells her therapist Dr Klemperer (Lutz Ebersdorf) that she believes the Markos Academy is run by witches. As he begins to investigate the disappearance of Patricia, a series of events are set in motion that will make even the strongest of people break. Meanwhile the mysterious witches, led by Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton) have plans for Susie and the girls at the academy that will end in blood.
With Suspiria, Luca Guadagnino finds a voice quite different to the one he uses in Call Me By Your Name. Suspiria is what I would describe as a beautiful nightmare. The movie uses the original movie as a spring board and delves deeper into the story of the witches as well as the story of Susie, which makes the story more compelling. Suspiria is a lot more self-serious than the original, with more subtly and more scares than it too. The score, composed by Thom Yorke of Radiohead fame, ranges between delicate piano laden tracks to jazzy drum heavy tracks. Yorke also wrote and performed the original song “Suspirium” for the movie that should be a shoe in for an Oscar. The beautiful cinematography makes even the terrifying dream sequences looks amazing, the movie is very creative in the ways that the characters are shot.
Suspiria is full of great performances, Dakota Johnson as our lead really surprised me as I presumed she could not act based on The Fifty Shades of Grey series alone. Her role is a very physical one with multiple intense dance sequences that show that she is a dedicated actress. Tilda Swinton is obviously great as always, but it’s Lutz Ebersdorf that shines in a supporting role that carries a fair chunk of the story with a great performance. Mia Goth also took me by surprise in supporting role that was vital to the story and most importantly was great.
As you have probably heard, the movie has some fairly shocking sequences that even made me squirm. The sequence early on, that has been highly discussed online, almost made me pass out. The sheer intensity of the scene coupled with the extremely graphic violence made for a very difficult watch, but a worth while one too.
Overall Suspiria is a hard watch, it will test your tolerance towards violence. It makes a lot of horror movies released this year look infantile. Personally, it is one of my favorites of the year and should be a must watch for anyone.
Suspiria is now out in cinemas worldwide.