Sometimes you sit down in a theater for a movie and you’re just looking for a way in to what you’re watching, because you’re already wondering what the fuck you’re going to say when somebody asks you about what you just saw as you are on your way out the door. Suspiria is a remake of a classic horror film by Dario Argento, but never mind the original, because these things are supposed to stand on their own, without knowing references to locations, shot selection, music, the film stock they put in the camera, the lens, Quentin Tarantino was really interested in seeing this got made, blah, blah, etc.
So look, right now there is only this version of Suspiria, and it’s so very filled with stuff, wowee, it has a 1970s setting in pre-unification-of-Germany Germany, there’s running references to the Bader-Meinhof gang that did terrorism and all kinds of mayhem in real life, there’s a sub-plot (maybe, unless it was really part of the plot, in which case they coulda snipped it and it woulda been fine and got me out of the movie 30 minutes earlier, but it’s in because of a secret surprise movie gimmick, I’m not kidding, that’s the only reason, and I found out, and now I’m annoyed) of an elderly German psychiatrist who lost his wife in World War II, it’s got lots of chilly exterior shots of cold-and-damp-out-all-the-time Berlin, and there’s a bucketload of subtitles because of people frequently speaking German, and there’s a dance school for women, a dance boarding school, with lots of talking about where the energy is and how close you should be to the floor, and there’s a lot of ladies of a certain age at this dance school, and they are pretty clubby, it’s almost like they’re in some sorta secret group or something, and they’re creepy, and you could swear they communicate without even talking, double creepy, really, one of the things this picture does well is show you how unsettling it is not to be part of a group, and that group might be exclusive of people who went to this fucking movie and simply do not appreciate it in its entirety.
This is a movie with a strong, oppressive visual design, it successfully evokes a mood of Impending Doom, not to mention Germany, and it’s tough to tell whether or not any of the dialogue really makes a difference, it might be a way better movie with no talking, just people giving each other important looks. I heard one good line, addressed to the psychiatrist by one of the creepy ladies, to the effect of “When women tell you the truth, you don’t pity them, you say they are delusional!” That really got me to wondering about all the folks who decided to be in this movie, who all really went for it, participation-wise, in terms of grisly giallo; Dakota Johnson from the 50 Shades of Grey movies, Chlöe Grace Moritz from Kick Ass and the never-really-released I Love You Daddy by Louis C.K., Tilda Swinton from all sorts of good films and all sorts of interesting and surprising roles, and ultimately, all the other women in this film, who choose their own choices, and ended up cashing a check in a movie where women are getting their heads supernaturally horror-exploded after a big nude dance number, and yeah, I’m an uncultured philistine because I don’t appreciate Contemporary Dance.
Contemporary blood-smears, though, this flick’s got you covered, in blood, hiyo, it’s like if you went to Rosemary’s Baby, except there was one part where everybody was the Baby and they were all running around trying to kill some of the other Babies, how’s that, how’s that for a quotable on the way out of the movie, that would be a good one? Except you have to watch a lot of dance practice first before the blood and guts. If you are an aficionado of gloppy horror movies, of course you gotta go to this so you can see all the stuff, and more power to you. If you’re a civilian looking for a scary movie to go to, this thing is odd and has jarring camera cuts and creepy moments and disgusting moments, but this filmed entertainment is two and a half gallons long, it’s a tough slog before you get to the gloopy action.
Also, there was somebody sitting behind us in the theater who felt comfortable snickering at stuff all the time. I don’t know if that was his way of expressing his sheer delight in experiencing the film, or if he was one of those people who has to let everyone know they’re in on the joke of how over the top and campy-awful many parts of the film are, and it was annoying, but really, my bad, I should have moved away from the snickerer, and I swear this did not negatively alter my view of this film, I do not like this film on its own merits, this movie is an execution of a series of filmed sequences and elaborate splatter-stunts because somebody liked a classic horror movie, and so they decided to make a movie one whole hour longer than the original classic that they fucking worship. The graphic design of the end credits is very nice, however.