‘Suspiria’ is proof that arthouse belongs in horror

‘Suspiria’ is proof that arthouse belongs in horror

‘Suspiria’ is proof that arthouse belongs in horror
November 05
15:00 2018

“When you dance the dance of another, you make yourself in the image of its creator.”

A horror renaissance is upon us. Whether it be slashers coming back with this year’s “Halloween,” politically driven think pieces like “Get Out” or the artsy, multifaceted allegorical pieces like “Hereditary,” it is evident that the horror genre is revitalizing itself once again as a force to be reckoned with.

And with the 2018 iteration of “Suspiria,” we have almost come full circle in wholly reinventing the genre.

In 1977, Dario Argento tasked himself with delivering a neon-drenched tale of witchcraft and bloody mayhem in his own creation “Suspiria.” Now in 2018, director Luca Guadagnino, made famous by the Oscar nominated flick “Call Me By Your Name,” tackles the tale of mischievous witches with his iteration of the now-revered classic.

“Suspiria” follows Susie Bannion, an ambitious young dancer who arrives at a prestigious dance academy in Berlin hoping to make a name for herself. As things begin to unfold at the academy, Bannion begins to realize exactly what lies at the heart of this academy and what exactly is going on with the other dancers and artistic directors of the program.

I promise you that nothing will prepare you for what is to come with this film. If you have seen the original, you may think you have an idea of what to expect with this, but trust me, you have absolutely no idea.

“Suspiria” is an evil beast of a film, hoping to hypnotize its viewers to fall under its spell, shock and deprave them, then grab them by the throat and not let go until the gargantuan two-and-a-half hour runtime has run its course. And after that, you may feel as if you have been sacrificed by a coven of ruthless witches, too.

Guadagnino directs like a man bewitched by his own craft, seamlessly weaving nightmarish imagery intertwined with aggressive bloodshed and pure shock value amped all the way up to 10. The gorgeous cinematography tasked with the nightmarish imagery only helps to further the sentiment that we are watching a living, breathing nightmare unfold right in front of our very eyes.

While Argento employed bright colors and neon shading in his version, Guadagnino draws upon muted grays and blander colors to evoke a sense of despair and helplessness to leave his audience fending for themselves, just as he does with his characters. He has an immense, clear version for his film, and he articulates it expertly. Guadagnino has always said he wants to dabble in horror, and after this one I sure hope he stays in it.

Dakota Johnson completely breaks out of her “Fifty Shades” persona and delivers her greatest performance to date. She is vulnerable in one scene then flips what we think of her character and busts out a menacing portrayal in the next moment, all the while still commanding the screen every time she appears. Johnson is really coming into her own and recognizing her talents, and I genuinely cannot wait to see what she has in store next. I am sure I do not need to say it because you should already know, but Tilda Swinton is immaculate in her portrayal as Madame Blanc and as Dr. Josef Klemperer, a grieving psychotherapist who Swinton also plays fully covered in prosthetics. Her talent is already known, but she still surprises with every role she tackles. She is one of the greats, and I say that with no hesitation.

In a film where dance is a major component of the visual panache, it would make sense for there to be some stellar choreography, and thanks to Damien Jalet’s exquisite choreography, they do not disappoint. The dance scenes are intricately woven within scenes of horrific violence to express the dances as forms of weapons readying their attacks on the characters. The dance scenes are hypnotic to witness, and when they are spliced together with the scenes of ritualistic torture, it steps on the line between beauty and brutality effortlessly. As soon as one of the dance scenes begins, prepare to wince at the upcoming violence that will be presented — but also be prepared to look on in admiration at all the skill going into each dance.

The score by Thom Yorke is equally as haunting and beautiful as everything else going on around it. He knows exactly what would make the scene even more creepy than it already is and it absolutely needs to be addressed. His score, along with the two full songs he created for this film, only shows that Yorke was indeed the perfect choice to compose this film and that he knows what type of film needed his touch.

Guadagnino brings his vision to a stunning climax then leaves you feeling as you have just run through hell yourself. My jaw was left agape as I witnessed the pure insanity of what was unfolding onscreen, and I will not spare any of the details, but you must know that it will shock you. But wow, is it effective.

“Suspiria” is a nightmare manifested into pure art and further proves that arthouse belongs in horror. It is shocking and depraved, and a sense of pure evil and immaculate wickedness lurks in every shot. Go in knowing absolutely nothing about the film and prepare to fall under its spell.

My Rating: 5/5

Featured Image: Courtesy Facebook

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Spencer Kain

Spencer Kain

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