Movie Review: SUSPIRIA
Talking about the remake here, not the original. In truth the two don’t have much in common. They’re both about a dancing school that serves as a front for a coven of witches and they’re both gonzo weird. That’s about it. Of the two, I honestly don’t know which one I liked better. I honestly don’t know if I *liked* either one of them, and it has been days since I saw the remake and years since I saw the original. I’m still not altogether certain what happened in either. I know we are here to discuss the new one. Even so, I can’t refrain from a little compare and contrast.
The one thing I did for sure like about the original is the vibrant colors. Those colors are missing in this new film. The latter seems bleached-out, everything rendered in shades of gray. Such coloration might be appropriately symbolic given my ambivalence in regards to the film. I do see that it was rendered by a skillful hand, yes. I can appreciate the skill with which it was made. I just don’t know if I liked the result. The line between a masterpiece and an unholy mess can be a thin one, hard to see. With this new SUSPIRIA it’s almost invisible.
What I can offer is a fair appraisal of the performances. It’s Tilda Swinton’s movie. She plays three different roles—the head witch, the old man psychiatrist, and the hideous hag at the end—and she is as excellent as always in each part. Dakota Johnson may have the lead role but she contributes nothing to the film that any competent actress couldn’t have achieved. She’s bland.
The most effective sequence is when Johnson is dancing and the witches are using her as a sort of living Voodoo doll, where each movement Johnson’s character makes inflicts terrible injury on another character. We’re talking bones breaking, limbs being yanked from sockets. It’s ugly, and it works. The same can be said of the best parts of the film. It’s ugly and it works. On the other hand, it’s long and it’s slow. I suspect it would have been more effective trimmed by about an hour.
Ultimately I will say that it’s worth watching for the FX (mostly practical) and Swinton’s performances. I’m glad I watched it. I just don’t know if I’d ever want to watch it again.
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS, specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced, and directed (and occasionally acted in) over two dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and True Crime genres. He obtained a doctorate in Occult Studies from Miskatonic University and is an active paranormal investigator. Is frequently told he resembles Anton Lavey. And Ming the Merciless.
Denn die totden reiten schnell!