Suspiria is not a remake, reboot or remaster. As the director Luca Guadagnino has said, it is his homage to the original. An entirely new film that simply uses the concept of an American girl joining a dance company filled with unusual people and occurrences as a starting point. There is no way to compare the two, they are like peanuts and apricots.
The pacing of Guadagnino’s film deliberately builds the atmosphere gradually as weird and grotesque things begin to happen, including one memorable scene that would make David Cronenberg proud, at the dance company that Susie Bannon (Dakota Johnson) has joined. Add in the eccentricities and piercing stares of the troupe’s teachers, which includes Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton), and you get a film whose eeriness leaks into every aspect of the building where most of the story takes place.
The narrative is separated neatly into six acts. The only aspect that felt unnecessary was the epilogue revolving around a girl, Patricia (Chloë Grace Moretz), who fled the company and has turned to a psychiatrist, Dr. Josef Klemperer (Swinton in the second of three roles), for help. Though the section is meant to comment on the state of Berlin’s society in 1977 it feels detached from the rest of the film.
Without giving too much away, I will say that it would have been perfect if the film ended after the superbly sinister sequence filled with extraordinary dancing and drenched in red light. It is a not so subtle nod to the original film’s climax that is captured by cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom in a masterful way.
That sequence, much like the rest of the film, is amplified by a dynamic and ominous score. Thom Yorke’s compositions are a big reason why the atmosphere surrounding Suspiria is so prevalent and pervading. It is a far cry from the strangeness found in the Goblin’s score for the original film, but it fits this version well.
While there are graphic images that will make some people gag or turn away in disgust, this new spin on Suspiria begs for multiple viewings – often the sign of a great film.