Month of Horror 2019: Suspiria (2018)

Remakes of any genre often have to answer one tough question: why? Is this an update for a new era, is it remaking something that’s still popular but no longer has an active franchise, or is this just a shameless cash grab based on name recognition (and depending if you ask the writer, director, or producer – it could be three things). Suspiria answers this question with the most daring of answers: because it can.

As much as I love the horror genre, only a select few entries are films that I would describe as bold. With as much as I enjoyed the original film by Argento, I was pretty skeptical checking out this (much longer at over 2 hours! ) version, but as in any great horror story- skepticism never lasts too long. Suspiria (2018) may not be to everyone’s taste, but it is a damn bold movie.

Suspiria (2018)

Pasted Synopses from wiki:  In the German Autumn of 1977, Susie Bannion, a young American woman from a Mennonite family in Ohio, arrives in West Berlin to audition for the Markos Tanzgruppe. A student there, Patricia Hingle, has concurrently disappeared after revealing to her psychotherapist, Dr. Josef Klemperer, that the school’s matrons are a coven of witches who worship The Three Mothers, a trio of witches who once roamed Earth, spreading darkness, tears, and sighs

Dealing with creative desires, expectations of institutions, mysterious circumstances, being far from home and going through grueling physical exercises can take its toll on a young individual and soon Susie is sucked into a seductive world where many things aren’t as they seem.

Compare, Contrast, Contort and Conclude

So on the surface there is a lot here that resembles the OG Suspiria; however, the two films feel wonderfully worlds apart. The set up for the plot is essentially the same at the beginning but the experience of watching both and where both end up are vastly different. All I’ll say is regardless of how you feel about the original, the new one completely stands on its own love it or hate it.

The soundtrack is no Goblin, but the dude from Radiohead isn’t a bad get! Again, it would be tempting for someone to want to recreate or put their spin on the iconic score from the original, instead we are given some withering, haunted and sad (this also reflects the change from the intense colors of the original to the more muted subdued colors in the remake).

And speaking of music, how about that dancing? This Suspiria actually features a lot of ballet dancing: practice, rituals involving dance, and performances are all highlighted by skilled and precise bodily movements that invoke a sense of primal energy into the film (and are also probably why this movie has quite the long running time).

I really liked this movie more than expected and hope if anyone else takes a stab at an Argento classic in the future, they do so in a similar method willing to put their own stamp on the story and not just looking to dance to someone else’s tune.