Director: Luca Guadagnino

Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth

Year: 2018

Suspiria is a film that contains so much that it’s difficult to critique, almost impossible to pull apart and judge, an abstract painting that you either love or hate instantaneously.  I, unfortunately, couldn’t stand it from the first minute to the last scene, like a piece of art that just looks like a stupid, ugly, plastic bag laid on a dirty Barbie doll, which might be beautiful to someone who can see what the artist was intending, but simply won’t connect with me.  And so I’ll try to be as quantitative as possible when talking about this movie, since I definitely count myself among the group who just didn’t “get it”, if there was something to get.  It’s a nightmare brought to life, that’s for sure, and I see the talent behind the idea of this adaptation, I just wanted to wake up as soon as I possible to escape whatever the hell was going on.

Susie, a beautiful young girl from a strict religious background, has just joined the famed Markos dance company in Berlin, under the tutelage of the renowned Madame Blanc.  She is a naturally talented dance, and Blanc feels her potential right away, sensing that she is destined for big things.  But what Blanc has in mind might be different from what Susie would choose.  The company is very close-knit and very strange, as all the girls live together and all the matrons form something similar to a coven.  There are rumors that they’re all witches, but of course that’s simply hearsay, but girls do come up missing from time to time, and the police are looking into the matter, if somewhat blunderingly.  Susie makes an early mark, but that might just mean that she’s the one in danger next, as the dances become more physical and less metaphorical, and blood begins to flow.

Luca Guadagnino has really only directed two other major American feature films, A Bigger Splash and Call Me By Your Name, which is an impressive debut, and which he followed up with Suspiria, a remake of the 1977 horror classic.  Luca G. is a talented director; I thought he make some mistakes with Bigger Splash, nailed everything perfectly with CMBYN, but I don’t like what he did tackling this redo, and I don’t think it was a good choice for him.  He has a melodramatic style, and I like it, but it doesn’t work with horror the same way, instead coming off an indulgent and ridiculous.  It was like Hereditary met Wicker Man, someone dunked the lucky couple in a vat of blood, and Dakota Johnson randomly came along to pretend like she knew exactly what was going on.  It’s that weird, and it’s not that I mind bonkers movies, not at all, it’s that I don’t want them to be bonkers with no point, or unsupportedly bonkers, or, honestly, to have Dakota Johnson leading the charge.  She’s no good, she couldn’t carry it out, Tilda Swinton tried, but she played three different characters and it was all a big mess and I don’t know what anyone was thinking.  Dancers, demons, hexes, witches, art buffs; who knows, and the film didn’t make me want to figure it out, which is their job, not mine, I’m not supposed to force myself to be inspired.  Hopefully Luca returns to something more suited to his strengths, and soon.

My rating: ☆ ☆