Intricate in wildly sharp-cutting camerawork, paranoia-atmospheric, and with phenomenally chilly turns led by Dakota Johnson and Swinton, Guadagnino’s Suspiria remake is a slow-simmering, hypnotic descent into madness. 8.7/10.
Plot Synopsis: Young dancer Susie Bannion arrives in 1970s Berlin to audition for the world-renowned Helena Markos Dance Co. When she vaults to the role of lead dancer, the woman she replaces breaks down and accuses the company’s female directors of witchcraft. Meanwhile, an inquisitive psychotherapist and a member of the troupe uncover dark and sinister secrets as they probe the depths of the studio’s hidden underground chambers.
*Possible spoilers ahead*
Review: Eerie, chilling, and unspeakably sinister, this Suspiria (although not as fresh and game-changing as the original) certainly packs a punch. Intricacy in camerawork utilizing sharp cut sequences and effect-laden stop-motion all the way to blurring VFX innovations amongst synth arpeggios and jarring dissonances, the film is achieves its unsettling goal with effective, old-fashioned atmospherics and supernatural paranoia/suspense escalation. Packed with a whole slew of powerful performances and dark turns off its seemingly-innocent dance company motif, Dakota Johnson steals the show as an absolutely spellbinding lead supported by conflicted Swinton as the headmaster and grieving psychotherapist Lutz Ebersdorf witnessing an absolutely horrific, BRUTALLY twisted dark witchcraft tone filled with imagery sequences that will make your skin crawl. It’s equally as compelling in screenplay with its (admittedly different but praise-worthily so)) mother storyline departing from normal witch plotting while opening up and taking the possibilities it creates in slow-simmering a hypnotic descent into madness leading to a strong final twist and evil-rife epilogue. Amongst its only flaws outside of an abrasive freakishness/experimental aura only film nuts might love, are a pacing style that can get admittedly tedious in parts stretched over its lengthy 2hr30min runtime and the sheer devoid-of-any-light *heavy* darkness in tone that’s not for the feint of heart or most viewers. But, if you’re an art-film/experimental cinema nut, it’s just the fresh push the genre needed and one of the most impressive witch-related products in decades. “We need guilt, Doctor. And shame.”
Overall Rating: 8.7/10