Breihan Dryden, A&E Writer
Wayyyyy back in the yesteryear of 2008, director Luca Guadagnino somehow convinced Italian horror master Dario Argento (probably via a dump truck of money) to let him option off the rights to his magnum opus Suspiria. The original Suspiria was released in 1977 and became a grindhouse hit, what with its quick pace, gorgeous lighting/sound, dubbing, and mysterious story about a coven of witches working out of a dance academy in Italy. While the original film isn’t a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, it still manages to be a fast paced little horror movie with style to spare. So of course the remake threw all out that out that window and replaced it with a drab look, artsy fartsy editing, bland acting, and a three hour runtime. Also, it has Tilda Swinton. Lots of Tilda Swinton.
Let’s start with Mrs. Swinton, shall we? Not only is she the head of the dance troupe, Madame Blanc, but she also plays the head of the witch coven (The Three Mothers) Mother Helena Markos AND Dr. Joseph Klemperer, who is the psychiatrist of one of a former dancer who has now gone missing. Got all that? Now, before the film came out, it was leaked that Swinton was going to be playing a dual role, one of which being an elderly man (Dr. Klemperer). Both Swinton and Guadagnino came out and called this fake news and maintained that the character was played by an actual German psychiatrist by the name of Lutz Ebersdorf. But oh man, it turns out that the old dude who looks like Tilda Swinton in old man makeup was actually *drum roll*, Tilda Swinton in old man makeup. “But Breihan, why are you getting all butt hurt about Tilda Swinton playing a man? Is It BeCaUsE yOu’Re SeXiSt??!” Well you see, dear fictional person complaining about a real person complaining, It’s not that I care that a woman is playing a man, it’s that it’s a pointless casting decision that could have easily been changed to just have the character be female. Besides, T-Swint (as I will now exclusively refer to her as such) doesn’t even pull the performance off. In fact, she doesn’t pull ANY of her performances off. She’s bland, uninspired, and reeks of *insert snobby actor voice* an actor that is acting. The rest of the cast doesn’t do anything interesting, either. We have Chloe Grace Moretz being wasted in an extremely minor role, the chick from Fifty Shades of Grey being about as charismatic as a leather studded whip that was left out in the rain, and a handful of generic dance girls. Sure, there are other characters, but they don’t matter. Nothing matters. This movie sucks.
Alright, now that I’ve had a chance to take a deep breath and jam out to some Goblin, let’s discuss how this film acts as a remake. It sucks. Sorry, allow me to go into a bit more detail. The film stays in the same year, that being 1977, and remains to be a story about an American girl unraveling the mystery surrounding this dance academy and the witches that run it. Other than that, the film changes its setting from Italy to Germany (just so that we can have an ultimately pointless side story involving the German Autumn) and replaces the neon drenched color scheme of the original with a drab, lifeless look that is devoid of primary colors. It’s not like this remake doesn’t have its own identity and look, because it most certainly does and I can respect that, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Another drastic change is that of the music. While the original film had a very proggy, eclectic soundtrack performed by the band Goblin, the new film is scored by Thom York of Radiohead fame. The new soundtrack gets a solid “meh”. It’s just sort of there, meandering about in the background. I get that remakes don’t have to be shot-for-shot like the original, after all, that’s how we got that awful Psycho remake with Vince Vaughn, but this feels like it was made in spite of the original film, and that doesn’t sit well with me, no sir.
All in all, skip this movie. By all means, if you’re a fan of the original film and are curious to see how this turned out, go for it. But for anyone who has never heard of Suspiria (I assure you that most people haven’t) do yourself a favor and pick up a Blu-ray of the original. Trust me, it’ll be a much more entertaining time for