Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Movie: Suspiria (2018)

Suspiria (1977) is in my top ten movies of all time, and when I heard about the remake I was skeptical. I even wrote in my past Suspiria blog that I might see the new version. Well kids, the other night I drove across town to the only theater nearby that was showing Suspiria (2018). I will say it was a good movie, but not as amazing as the first one. It does have worthy horror elements though.


The posters for the new Suspiria are jarring and fully represent the movie. (Info on the poster below.) Both of them awakened the Art History lover in me. They are stunning pieces that have a 1970s vibe with a De Stijl or even a Bauhaus aesthetic. The sharp lines and primary colors stand out. They are easily pictured on the wall of the dance school in the movie. They are the push I needed to decide to see it.


***Warning Spoilers***

The Suspiria story for the most part is the same ~ there is a foreign dance school run by witches and they need a new student to groom and help restore/ become a vessel for one of the elder gross decaying witches.

Let me begin with the things I didn't like...the new movie is bland. Of course the music is not nearly as atmospheric as Goblin's score. It's done by Thom Yorke and seems almost like an after thought. It's stark and sad...too gentle for the nightmarish story line. The colors throughout the movie are the complete opposite of the garish neon blood and flashing lights in the original. Everything is dull, neutral, and beige. I know it takes place in the 1970s ~ the height of brown ~ but 'cmon. The only bright colors come at the end, maybe to emphasis the characters and finale? The brightness is a light at the end of the cold dark underground witch tunnel.


So many neutrals in sharp contrast to the posters.

The story is less mysterious than the original. It reveals more behind the scenes of the witches and their power struggle ~ amongst themselves ~ to get their house in order. There's also a side love story about a therapist and his wife. In my opinion, the love story takes up too much time, but as a reprieve Jessica Harper from the original Suspiria plays the therapist's wife. This could have been cut down by 15 minutes ~ or instead ~ have a focus on the main character's Mennonite background. That would have been more interesting. All of this is set against the backdrop of Cold War Germany.

The fake hair was a little distracting. I found myself staring at everyone's foreheads.


Forehead.

Like the first movie, the uneasy feeling is the same, but for different reasons. I enjoyed the avant garde camera angles, whereas the original has wide views of the whole scene, the new one has close-ups and cuts to inanimate objects with odd spacial relations making everything seem off balance.

The school is renowned for it's modern dance. It should be known for all the turn over it has with it's students! It's no surprise the witches manipulate the dancers. The most disturbing example is one of the main character's first dances, she kills another student in a locked room through her animalistic movement. This is probably the most powerful scene, and the most horrific in the whole movie. I was impressed with the graphic body gore. It's violent without the direct violence! Damn this school is unstable and bodies just pile up.

There's no Udo Kier, but there is a Tilda Swinton. She is creepy in her own right. (I'm convinced she's an alien, a beautiful alien.) She was great, although I feel she was under utilized in the role of Madame Blanc. She played the old man therapist too, or so some articles say. His mouth and voice in the movie were out of sync in the close-ups, but the director denies that she played him? Not sure why she needed to be this character too? It's just odd. Is it to hype the mystery of the movie?


 Tilda Swinton always looks like a painting or a wax sculpture.
I wonder what her moisturizing routine is. 

Although I never studied modern dance, I do have a dance background and the choreography was great. It was sharp, intense and moving, very well done. The costuming is ugly for the final performance, however it's modern and mimics the underground rooms of the school...and blood, and shows continual movement emphasizing the physicality and ritual of witchcraft. I enjoyed that this movie had dance sequences in it, after all it takes place in a dance academy!


1970s macrame costumes.

The witch instructors that run the school are cackling and annoying. As a result, I found the plot twist at the end enjoyable. I won't give that away, you'll just have to see it for yourself. The new Suspiria is a fresh take on the original and a welcome addition to the horror genre. I give it 4 Mater Suspiriorums out of 5.

Now does this mean Argento's other Mother movies will be remade? Hmmm...

Here's the trailer...


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