There are horror films that scare you and ones that just creep you out, Suspiria is firmly in the later camp. It’s a work that does its best to put you in discomfort and in that pursuit it succeeds magnificently. Director Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name) keeps you off balance throughout its 152 minute running time.
A talented young dancer, Susie Bannion played by Dakota Johnson joins a prestigious dance company in West Berlin in the late seventies and comes under the spell of the company’s leader, Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton). Little does Bannion know that the coven of witches that run the school will drive her to the edge of insanity and beyond.
Guadagnino uses an approach where you are never quite sure where the reality of the character’s lives stop and the evil that exists within the walls of the school start. There are very few literal scenes and through the haze of this presentation you are often left to find your own reality.
Reimagining Dario Argento’s popular 1977 Italian horror film of the same name was always going to present a challenge, but it’s challenge met. From Guadagnino’s hallucinogenic vision to Radiohead’s Thom Yorke’s unearthly yet beautiful soundtrack to cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom cryptic vision, it’s a work unique onto itself.