When I first heard that there was to be a remake of 1977 cult sinister feature, Suspiria, I was dubious that it would live up to the name Dario Argento has given this grisly horror. However, you only have to consider two names attached to this remake to give you room to reconsider this scepticism, Tilda Swinton and Thom Yorke, two very much acclaimed in their fields. Considering the changes to the plot without any spoilers it is obvious that Luca Guadagnino is not one hundred per cent loyal to the original but that does not necessarily take anything away, if anything it seems to open the doors to surprise, surprise, a sequel.
If you’ve seen the original you will be aware that the story follows an American dancer, as she moves to Berlin to a prestigious dance academy, in order to pursue her dream. Enigmatically drawn there from a young age, she soon realises that there are darker goings on within the academy, which in the remake centre on artistic director, Madame Blanc, the young dancer herself, Susanna Bannion and grieving psychiatrist, Dr Josef Klemperer.
With shots and cinematography that establish the date of the original release and the story, Suspiria possesses many crash zooms. The film also occasionally delves into the political divisions of the time, highlighting a formidable Berlin, which is more than reflected in the main tale. Within the dance academy there are divisions also with those that support Mother Markus and those that alternatively follow Madame Blanc, performed conceivably by the eccentric Tilda Swinton. These have consequences, which we realise at the conclusion of the film, a story told in six parts.
A catalyst in this entire equation is Susie Bannion, with her arrival from Ohio, alluring and majestic in her performance, it is not long before she becomes the lead dancer and star pupil to Madame Blanc. Performed by Dakota Johnson, Susie is a mesmerising dancer and character to follow through this narrative as she moves her way through the academy, grounded in her believe in beauty. Irksome noises and prosthetics add much to this feature, as do the performances, cinematography and editing, and despite the running time, the film holds my attention as any notion of time escapes me within this gory yet stunningly conceived film.
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