Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Chloe Grace Moretz
Duration: 152 min
How do you remake Suspiria, Dario Argento’s 1977 giallo classic, beloved by many a cinephile for its lurid colour palette, conspicuous dubbing and Italian prog score? The answer, in Luca Guadagnino’s (Call Me By Your Name) capable hands, is that you don’t; this slyly-feminist horror film is more of an homage to Argento’s original.
The story opens with young American Susie Bannion (here played by Dakota Johnson), traveling to Germany in order to audition for a renowned dance academy. She attracts the attention of school director and lead choreographer Madame Blanc (a luminescent Tilda Swinton), becoming the older woman’s protegee. Yet, as Susie begins her formal dance training, other students are whispering about a coven of witches who they believe control the school.
Whereas the 1977 version was drenched in vivid technicolour reds, blues and purples, Guadagnino re-enlisted the help of Call Me By Your Name cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom to give the film a distinctive look in a hushed range of earthy pastels. It’s a visual representation of the overall mode of Guadagnino’s vision - a subtle, disquieting, and masterful piece of cinema.
Guadagnino’s take plunges into the darkness swirling at the centre 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. Terrifying and magnetic in equal measure.