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The summer movie season is officially over, and while the end of the year will bring more blockbusters and major motion pictures, we now find ourselves in that period where some of the more unusual cinematic offerings are surfacing. One of those is Suspiria, the remake of the same-named 1977 film which follows a dancer (portrayed in this version by Dakota Johnson) who travels to a dance academy in Berlin and learns that the institutions has some dark secrets. Suspiria won't be released to the public until the end of October, but the movie recently had its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival. Reviews have subsequently trickled in, and the early reactions paint the remake in a mixed light.
Guadagnino has made an ambitious homage, but it doesn't really benefit from its more intellectualized gaze, instead draining the stomach-churning thrills of great horror.
Variety's Owen Gleiberman also walked away from Suspiria feeling underwhelmed, noting that there are few shocks in the movie and that the story leaves a lot to be desired.
Director Luca Guadagnino has remade Dario Argento's flamboyant nuthouse horror movie into an art film about dance and witches in divided Berlin that's so self-serious it forgets to scare you.
On the positive end of the spectrum, Emily Yoshida from Vulture said in her review that Suspiria succeeds in re-imagining its predecessor, even if it is in no way "comfortable."
Suspiria is a gorgeous, hideous, uncompromising film, and while it seeks to do many things, settling our minds about the brutality of the past and human nature is not one of them.
Indiewire's David Ehrlich also enjoyed Suspiria, giving it an A- score and noting that it's not so much a remake of the original movie as it is an "estranged sibling" with its "richer, more explicit" presentation of the central "nightmare."
Suspiria is a film of rare and unfettered madness, and it leaves behind a scalding message that's written in pain and blood: The future will be a nightmare if we can't take responsibility for the past.
Finally, Alonso Duralde from The Wrap wasn't a fan of Suspiria, declaring that Luca Guadagnino's version of the story is paced with boredom, confusion and "a dollop of disappointment and irritation."
The frights aren't frightening, the political subtext never connects with the rest of the movie, and even Guadagnino's generally unfailing visual sense isn't enough to put this over.