Review: Suspiria

Amy Brown talks us through the disturbing new horror, Suspiria

Amy K Brown
31st January 2019
Image: YouTube

New horror film from director Luca Guadagnino Suspiria is a chaotic, disturbing show full of dancing, gore and witchcraft. A remake of David Argento’s 1977 film of the same name is packed full of detail and complexities. But Suspiria has actually been described by the director as a homage rather than a remake. I am not familiar with the original but if you are, that is something to keep in mind. In retrospect, I wish I had watched the original first just for some extra context on the themes and ideas.

Visually, it is stunning, but the plot is somewhat unfulfilling. It is slightly hard to follow and it includes so many subjects, ultimately making it difficult to fully understand. The setting and context in relation to the plot did not correlate the way I thought it would and I failed to see where everything links up which made it feel somewhat disorganised. Whether this was the whole point of it is up to interpretation.

I did not expect anything amazing from her but her performance was quite compelling

The cast of mostly women along with the themes of matriarchy and empowerment were interesting but there was still a degree of ‘male gaze’ to this film. I noticed this throughout and it became less empowering and more judgemental.

A high point was the performance of Tilda Swinton, portraying more than one role in the film, including one of our protagonists. Swinton was overall artistic and definitely a highlight.

Dakota Johnson was a true surprise for me. I did not expect anything amazing from her but her performance was quite compelling. Her delivery needed to be strong as she was one of our main characters and she certainly achieved that. Revisiting the visuals of the film, the cinematography was a consistent strong aesthetic, the imagery haunting and memorable. It works with subtle muted colours and makes use of interesting colour symbolism. It felt almost like artwork on screen. The dance sequences were also beautiful to watch. Overall, it is a mad concoction of witches, war, violence and dancing and it definitely tests your patience.

Rating: 3/5 stars

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AUTHOR: Amy K Brown
Head of Culture. @akathrynbrwn on Twitter.

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