Tuesday 30 October 2018

Film Review: Suspiria

Lose yourself to dance with Luca Guadagnino's twisted horror remake Suspiria

Susie Bannion (Dakota Johnson), a talented dancer, leaves behind her strict religious family in America to travel to West Berlin and enrol in the Markos Dance Academy. It is here she meets the academy's enigmatic director Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton), who immediately takes a liking to Susie and takes her under her wing. However, disappearances and strange occurrences plague the desolate halls and dilapidated streets, all of which centre around Blanc and the ensemble of women who run the academy.

Less of a remake and more of an homage to Dario Argento's classic and colourful Italian horror, Guadangnino's film isn't for the faint of heart, and will split audiences into two uneven halves; those who can stomach this blood-curdling, dizzying and genuinely upsetting film – and those who absolutely cannot.

To say Suspiria is confronting would be the understatement of the century; Guadagnino's film comes at you like a swarm of wasps – fast, loud, angry, in your face and hellbent on leaving a mark. Or maybe it's like a snake; slow and precise, with vicious bursts of venomous violence.

Truth is, it takes turns at being both – like many arthouse horror films, the deliberately slow pacing is all about shaping atmosphere and tension. Suspiria is awash with a rich, foreboding atmosphere that lingers in every nook and cranny of the dance academy. And what starts with a sinister whisper eventually turns into a deafening cacophony of gushing blood.

Johnson and Swinton are both great in their respective roles, with the latter actually playing two as both Blanc and Josef Klemperer, a psychotherapist who is investigating the academy after one of his patients, Patricia (Chloe Grace Moretz) disappears.

The design drains the film of primary colours and places the film within an oppressive West Berlin concrete jungle, whilst Thom Yorke's hypnotic score is a beautiful and haunting story all of its own.

That said, not everything works. A subplot concerning a hijacked plane has a crack at placing the events of the film within a broader political context, but as it is told through radio news extracts and voiceover, it feels tacked on and undercooked. And in a film that blossoms to over two-and-a-half hours, it's an easy cost to cut.

If arthouse horror is your thing, you've most likely already got your seats booked and your clothes picked out for Suspiria. This film will be a smash with the Letterboxd and Film Twitter crowds. As for general audiences who don't have the stomach for 'weird shit', best steer clear of a film that clearly isn't aimed at you bro.

The Verdict: 8/10

Gorgeous and hideous all at once, Suspiria has me all kinds of shook (as the kids say). Tough to recommend owing to its divisiveness, but you'll probably already know which camp you sit in.

Suspiria is in cinemas across Australia from November 8.

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I really want to check this out. I'm not sure where I sit on arthouse horror as I haven't watched many movies in the genre, but I love finding movies that are different to everything else out there, so I guess time will tell!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...