In commemoration of the upcoming remake, SUSPIRIA (2018), I’ve decided to go back in time and check out the original to get an idea of what I’m in for later. I’m a tad weirded out that this isn’t part of my Halloween Special reviews, but since no one actually recommended me this movie, I’ll just make it a regular review.
Cast: Jessica Harper (MINORITY REPORT ), Stefania Casini (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of), and Udo Kier (AMERICAN ANIMALS , DOWNSIZING , and the upcoming IRON SKY THE COMING RACE )
Director/Co-writer/Composer: Dario Argento (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of)
Writer: Daria Nicolodi (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of)
Cinematographer: Luciano Tovoli (MURDER BY NUMBERS )
Editor: Franco Fraticelli (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of)
This is my honest opinion of: SUSPIRIA
Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper) is a young American woman newly recruited into the prestigious Tanz Dance Academy in Germany. While she’s mostly accepted, and even befriends fellow dancer Sara (Stefania Casini). However, Suzy becomes inflicted with unknown ailments that prevent her from dancing or staying awake at night, and the academy becomes plagued with strange occurrences, all possibly by the work of witches.
UGH!!! I did not like this movie. It was obnoxiously loud and annoying, or it was boring. “One of the greatest horror movies” my Peruvian ass.
Alright, let’s start with the positives. This will be a short list. For one thing, I like the main theme. Similar to WONDER WOMAN (2017), I may not be able to hum or whistle it, but if I hear it, I can immediately identify it, which is great. If you put the movie on mute, there are some pretty satisfyingly brutal and bloody deaths. The first in the movie is a woman who gets stabbed a bunch, falls through a skylight, gets hung, and another girl with her face impaled by a huge-ass shard of glass. I won’t lie, I squirmed a bit. And… yeah, my chosen poster below didn’t lie, the last twelve minutes of the movie are about the best this movie had to offer. <<<SPOILERS – highlight to reveal>>> [ Basically, from the moment Suzy walks into that room with the Helena Markos to the end credits, this stuff is legit great. Helena’s voice is absolutely chilling. Her psychotic laugh is the stuff of nightmares. Then summoning Sara’s body, all cut-up and bloodied, raising that knife, laughing as she closes in on Suzy… yeah, I couldn’t sleep with the lights off that night. Also, the closing credits with the coven going ablaze while listening to the screams of the witches burning inside was pretty fun. ] <<<END SPOILERS>>>
Now that that’s out of the way…
The first major problem, and a big one that’s pretty consistent throughout the entire movie is the score doesn’t shut the fuck up. The main theme is great, but anything longer than a few minutes and it’s ear-bleedingly screechy and loud. It’s as if the movie thinks that loud noises are what makes the movie scary. Truth is, the most terrifying aspect of the score is not knowing when it’ll shut up. The score even takes away from moments that would otherwise be gruesome and enjoyable. Remember that scene in the beginning with the girl who gets stabbed and hanged, well, I couldn’t enjoy that scene because the score wouldn’t shut up. In scenes where Suzy was simply in a taxi, the score wouldn’t shut up. Several scenes with Sara wandering the halls of the academy were relinquished of tension because the score, you guessed it, wouldn’t shut the fuck up.
Suzy is a mostly useless character. Most of anything that she does is be weak or incapable of truly participating in the plot because… well, she’s literally sleeping through it. Hell, it would almost make more sense if Sara was main character. She has a better idea of what’s going on in the academy, she’s the one who gets to the bottom of things, she’s just a lot more active in the plot progression than Suzy is. She’s not exactly a well-written character, but she’s a damn sight more interesting to watch than Suzy.
I thought I’d be railing against this movie a lot more than I ended up doing, but the fact remains for me, I could not stand this. It’s unbearable to listen to and, ultimately, not scary. There’s over the top acting, silly scary scenes, and nothing to really invest in. Sure, the ending’s great, and I do really like the main theme song of the movie, but the only thing these do is save the movie from being a total dumpster fire. As a recommendation, I say this is a hard pass.
My honest rating for SUSPIRIA: a weak 3/5