"Suspiria" Movie Review: Dakota Johnson's New Horror Movie Is More Like A Historical-Political Narrator

Kanchana Ngan |May 10, 2019

Fifty Shades' Dakota Johnson stars in another project, Luca Duadagnino's horror movie titled Suspiria, released by Amazon Studios.


Director: Luca Guadagnino
Cast: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth
Rating: 3/5

Suspiria, whose director is Luca Guadagnino, is a supernatural horror movie inspired by the 1977 same-name Italian movie directed by Dario Argento. It narrates the story of an American woman enrolling at a Berlin's famous dance academy, which turns out to be run by a group of witches.

The appearance of Fitty Shades' star Dakota Johnson, cooperating with other actors such as Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, has the film become a hot topic on social media ahead of its release. However, its quality seems not to meet the audience's expectation.

>>> READ MORE: 18+ Fifty Shades of Grey Full Movie Download | Hindi Dubbed | 2020 Updates

Suspiria Movie
Suspiria fails to meet many audience's expectations. (Source: Tumblr)

First of all, despite being a remake, Suspiria has so little in common with the original version. It's true that Guadagnino did say he tended to produce an "homage" rather than a straightforward remake to the 1977 movie, yet the disparity's too significant to be ignored. Those differences are ranged from content to visual, tonal factors, as well as the personal addition of dense historical subtext. Everybody watching the film only once can clearly see them, including our initial director Argento, to an extent that he had to share in an interview, "It betrayed the spirit of the original film".

And it's easy to understand the reasons for Argento's offense. Guadagnino makes the two versions distinguishable right from the very first scene where the visuals are in winterish, absent of primary colors, while they used to be exaggerated as in the original version. Then, the more you keep eyes on the film, the more likely you will find that it has nothing related to the horror genre. Instead, the director prefers adding various political elements into a supposed-to-be scary film. It makes sense, anyway, as Luca Guadagnino has never been a horror director before.

Suspiria Movie 2
Suspiria isn't regarded as a true horror movie. (Source: Tumblr)

Speaking about the movie's overuse of political aspect, it's necessary to take a look again at its plot. Suspicia centers around Susanna Bannion (Dakota Johnson), who has to suffer from an unpleasant childhood. She is abused by her mother, which undoubtedly leaves great impacts on her personality later. However, she has a chance to enter Madame Blanc's dance academy thanks to surprising talent in dancing, being showered in her love and emotional support, which Susanna has never experienced before.

The political content appears along with this motherhood theme. Suspiria is set in a politically divided city, at a typical period of history, the complicated German Autumn in 1977. During that time, an important event happened when the last remnants of the Nazi party were wiped out by a faction of radical who did everything as compensation for their parents' sins. The circumstance is vividly depicted in the film through a variety of TV news and pieces of newspaper collected, which also reminds the audience of the perfect imitation of another historical period in Killing Them Softly, the movie starred Brad Pitt.

Suspiria Movie 3
The film overuses the historical and political elements. (Source: Tumblr)

Although it may be fine to involve political details in a horror movie, it's their excessive amount of on-screen time in Suspiria that annoys many viewers. It's joked that once you remove them, nearly half of the movie's runtime could be shaved off. It proves the overuse and over-dependence of the film on political and historical aspects. For instance, the dance moves performed by the young girls of the academy were real, being created in the shadow of the 1948 war. Or the personality of the witches, always trying to distance themselves from their own past, is in contrast with the one of Baader-Meinhof Group, who desperately stick to the previous generation's sins to identify who they are.

Another factor that receives strict criticism from the public was music. Many assume that Suspiria has no music. But it's untrue, in fact. Because Guadagnino did invite the veteran rockstar Thom Yorke to compose a whole themed concept album. And literally, it plays such an integral role in delivering the film's messages. For example, it's partially thanks to Yorke's music that the haunting images, especially at the ending part, can take effect.

Overall, Suspiria is worth giving a try if you are of the patient and tolerant type who are willing to watch wasted scenes on politics only.


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