‘Suspiria’ tries to take killer dance moves to a whole new level

Claire Oliver

The logo for the 1977 horror movie “Suspiria” orignally released in Italy, the film recieved high reviews in the United States and would become a cult classic. The movie was rereleased in 2018 with Dakota Johnson playing dancer Susie Bannion (Courtesy of Seda Spettacoli).

In the wake of Halloween, the reboot of the popular cult classic “Suspiria” was released to much excitement from the cult movie community.

The reboot of “Suspiria” was, in a word, okay. While the beginning of the film was excellent, the end made me want to walk out of the theatre.

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The original “Suspiria” was released in 1977 and was the first film of a trilogy called “The Three Mothers,” created by director Dario Argento. The filmmaker released the film in Italy in February and it moved to American screens in May of the same year.

The original film is a masterpiece, and I was stunned by the color and the plot, as well as the direction the film went in. The film’s climax is also really interesting, which is sometimes the downfall of horror films, like “Hereditary” and “The Witch,” which all ended in naked people dancing around for the purpose of satanic ritual.

The beginning of the reboot was really interesting. Dakota Johnson plays Susie Bannion, a dancer who is accepted into a prestigious dance school in Munich, Germany, in the aftermath of Patricia (Cholë Grace Moretz,) a dancer at the academy’s disappearance. Johnson plays the character well and encompasses Bannion’s troubled childhood while breaking free from those emotional barriers with every dance performance in the film.

I enjoyed the backstory elements throughout the film, it was well thought out and made Bannion much more complex than the original manifestation of the character. Johnson played the subtlety of the character effectively, and her movements throughout the film were mesmerizing. It was really hard to take my eyes off of her as she embraced the “Volk” dance style created for the film.

Bannion instantly impresses Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton) who takes a personal interest in the new dancer. The tension between the two characters, whether you call it sexual or not, also added another layer to the film that was missing from the original.

“Suspiria” is now playing in select theaters.

The dance school is a facade used by the dance teachers as a way to practice witchcraft. We see the dancers start to disintegrate as the witches use the dances to cast spells and kill off any dancer who tries to get away. The dances in effect, are literally killer. Bannion even kills off a dancer, Olga, while performing the protagonist in a dance created by Madame Blanc. 

The one thing I missed in the film was the colors. For fans of the original, the detailed color scheme was so striking it added to the overall confusion and the manipulation of the women inside the walls of the dance studio. The colors in the reboot were more muted and less provocative. There was a prism of color in the first film, I missed having those effects.

The reboot met its climax with the reveal of Mother Markos, who has been the one using the dancers to supplement her powers, and it was disappointing. Markos ended up being just an extremely creepy old lady in a wheelchair without any clothes on. I wanted it to be something other than cliché, but instead, director Luca Guadagnino thought it would be great to use bad CGI along with chanting naked women. 

To go from such a strong beginning, with excellent storytelling and detailed, well-rounded characters, to a blood fest for no reason other than shock factor was irritating. The scene made me uncomfortable and I almost wanted to walk out of the theatre.

Should you watch it? Meh. 

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Overall the movie has some integrity. It uses the same premise as the original but it doesn’t include many of the interesting moments that made the original a good thriller. Swinton and Johnson made a compelling pair but ultimately the movie was ruined in one scene. 

Claire Oliver can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @clairity21.