Suspiria- the beauty of Horror
Suspiria is a 1977 Italian supernatural horror film directed by Dario Argento, who co-wrote the screenplay with Daria Nicolodi, partially based on Thomas De Quincey’s 1845 essay Suspiria de Profundis. The film stars Jessica Harper as an American ballet student who transfers to a prestigious dance academy in Germany but realizes, after a series of brutal murders, that the academy is a front for a supernatural conspiracy. This film was something else! Not only is “Suspiria” a treat to the eyes with it’s bright neon colors, but the most surreal movie experience ever. A twisted fairy tale of nightmares with a fantastic soundtrack.Putting aside plot and character development which are just after thought. If you’re looking for those two things, then you will be disappointed. The film’s visual style and atmosphere are what’s gonna stick out the most.No other horror movie is presented in such an interesting and unique way like this. On a technical side, it’s masterful.
The original ‘Suspiria’ is one to beat even though the 2018 suspiria has quite a gorgeous Gothic look to it. This is not just a masterpiece from one of the greatest Italian filmmakers in history, it is a work of art, pure art. The power of this film is not just by its story, nor by the frightening score by Goblin, nor by the terrifying performances of the actors and actresses… but by its eerie atmosphere. The eye-popping colored lights can be considered as characters even more frightening than the witches and jump scares. Every frame in this movie is a magnificent ominous painting. This film, for me, is considered as “the delinquency of modern cinema”. The Tanz Academy is a place where the pure anxiety of ecstasy is at its climax. This is truly one of the greatest films of all time. No one can replace Dario Argento’s SUSPIRIA, not even the new and more refined one. Although I highly appreciate the New one taking on a more original approach than just plain copying the 1970’s Suspiria.
The 2018 Suspiria is not worth watching until you’ve seen the original, it does play a tribute to it at all. This film, despite being led by the right director, takes another pathway in order to rival the original.This film, despite the countless varying moments of eruptive intense horror, fostered by uncanny goriness, is influenced by its subtext more than anything, allowing its sensual yet, all the same, horrifying nature flow through every ounce of the screen. Whereas, the original was a swift exercise of external horror, this new film dips into the harsh truths of reality, at times, but unfolds such truths into an ironically unreal masterpiece, an opus that is so mesmerizingly beautiful that it’s incomprehensible to view it as a human work. It’s simply otherworldly. It’s compressed to the cold wrenches of reality, but more so feels like an alternate-reality, playing like a grand piano that buzzes through the strings and echoes with beauty. Guadagnino achieves by capturing the intimate purity of real life and the obscurity of his intense, distinct vision of horror, and blends both things into a dark fantasy flooded with gorgeous subtext, subtext that’s covered, although graciously noticed, by the bloody surface of body horror and mythical, ritualistic evil.
The opening scene, where a weirdly cast Chloe Grace Moretz chucks out a load of spoilers for people who can’t be bothered to watch the original, sets the tone for the way this film acknowledges its origins – brashly. The plot doesn’t deviate much – the dance company, the young student, the three Mothers, but it’s lifted from the original rather than interpreted and the only writing detours in this new version usually fall somewhere between irrelevant and just plain annoying.
It’s generally well casted and well-acted though; Dakota Johnson going all ‘Black Swan’ was very watchable (her dancing a joy to behold), while Tilda Swinton’s previous with director Guadagnino was clearly a factor in her confident, comfortable performance. Mia Goth supporting was a good call and a cameo from Suspiria-original Jessica Harper was a nice, if obvious choice. At the end of the day, it’s significant that Argento’s work is being remade, and I have endless appreciation for the fact that it wasn’t dumbed down and rebooted for the masses in the way that so many horror classics have been.