The cast, mood, and score are all entirely essential to the film’s creative success, and this is easily one of the best movies of 2018.
Plot: A darkness swirls at the center of a world-renowned dance company, one that will engulf the artistic director, an ambitious young dancer, and a grieving psychotherapist. Some will succumb to the nightmare. Others will finally wake up.
Review: A beautiful and seemingly susceptible and naive American dancer named Susie (Dakota Johnson) travels to Berlin in the 1970s to be taught at a prestigious dancing academy run by the strict Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton), whose unorthodox methods grind some pupils to the bone, while elevating others to a sort of state of nirvana. Right away, Blanc takes particular notice of Susie and her willingness to put her body through the trails and tribulations required of her to become the lead dancer in an upcoming performance that the school will be presenting as a one-in-a-lifetime event. As Susie’s mind, body, and spirit transcends and ascends the stages of punishment Blanc and her whispering co-instructors put her through, the school and its body of students slowly becomes the subject of a ritual that Blanc and the elusive headmistress are enacting. The performance of the upcoming dance is the culmination of a damning, satanic ritual that will push Susie and everyone around her into a hellish inferno, and with no one to stop it from happening, the gates of hell itself will gush open like a gaping wound that can never heal.
As a fan of the original Dario Argento touchstone giallo, I went into this reimagining / remake with some skepticism, but I needn’t have been concerned: screenwriter David Kajganich and director Luca Guadagnino’s take on it is completely fresh and vibrant, using a radically unique approach to the source material and making it feel brand new. The cast, mood, and score are all entirely essential to the film’s creative success, and this is easily one of the best movies of 2018. At 152 minutes, it may seem long, but I became so lost and entranced by it that I never noticed how lengthy it was.
Special features on the new Lionsgate Blu-ray + digital copy include “The Making of Suspiria,” “The Secret Language of Dance,” and ‘The Transformations of Suspiria.”