Suspiria Blu Ray Review (Lionsgate)
Suspiria is a 2018 horror film produced & directed by Luca Guadagnino (Call Me by Your Name, A Bigger Splash, I Am Love, & Melissa P). It’s inspired by Dario Argento’s 1977 film. It was produced & written by David Kajganich (Pet Sematary, The Terror, True Story, & The Invasion). Radiohead’s Thom Yorke (Offshore Incorporated, Watershed: Exploring a New Water Ethic for the New West, & With Stanley Donwood) did the score for the feature. Director David Gordon Green was originally attached to the project & wrote his own script for it but left due to financial issues. Both Natalie Portman & Judi Dench were rumored to be in this adaptation. It premiered at the 75th Venice International Film Festival 2018. It was given a limited release by Amazon Studios in Los Angeles & New York on October 26, 2018. It grossed over $180,000 in its opening weekend, marking the highest screen average box office launch of the year. Soon after, it got a bigger release all over. The budget was $20 million & it ended up making $6.3 million worldwide.
In 1977, ballerina Susie Bannion (played by: Dakota Johnson from Fifty Shades Trilogy, The Social Network, Bad Times at the El Royale, & Black Mass) arrives in Berlin at the height of the German Autumn to audition for the Tanz Dance Academy. She always had dreams of doing this but she was never professionally trained but still gets accepted because of her raw talent. Her arrival coincides with the sudden disappearance of another student Patricia Hingle (played by: Chloë Grace Moretz from Carrie, Let Me In, Kick Ass 1/2, & The Equalizer). Patricia’s psychiatrist Dr. Josef Klemperer (played by: Tilda Swinton from Avengers: Endgame, Isle of Dogs, & Doctor Strange) has Patricia’s diaries after she goes missing. It has all her shocking theories about witches & strange details about the Tanz Dance Academy including The Three Mothers: Mater Tenebaraum, Mater Lachrymarum, & Mater Suspiriorum. Susie becomes friends with dance student Sara Simms (played by: Mia Goth from A Cure for Wellness, The Secret of Marrowbone, Everest, & Nymphomaniac: Vol. II). Her dancing skills get the attention of the academy’s artistic director & head choreographer Madame Blanc (played by: Tilda Swinton from Hail, Caesar!, Snowpiercer, & Burn After Reading).
One of the rising stars from the class, Olga (played by: Elena Fokina from Blush & Here After) calls out the instructors for being witches & having something to do with Patricia’s sudden disappearance. Blanc puts a spell on her & she pays for her damaging words through her favorite thing dance! Blanc & Mother Helena Markos (played by: Tilda Swinton from Constantine, We Need to Talk About Kevin, & The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) are put against each other for the coven’s new leader. Susie is given a bigger role & she’s suspected to be the host for Markos after she wins the vote between the women. Dr. Klemperer after analyzing Patricia’s diaries decides to do his own investigation of the academy. He finds his long lost wife Anke (played by: Jessica Harper from the original Suspiria, Phantom of the Paradise, Shock Treatment, & Minority Report) while he tries to solve this unholy mystery. He goes to their big event & watches the students dance while the instructors keeps their eyes on him. Madness starts to take over as things start to lose control. This all leads a chaotic final confrontation between the Dr., the students, & the dangerous witches!!!!
Suspiria 2018 is more of a re imagining than an actual remake. It still has a decent amount of similarities like the character names & the dance academy setting but it’s a very different production compared to the original. Don’t expect that legendary colorful & beautiful cinematography here, they go a completely different direction for the visual style with this. Radiohead’s Thom Yorke adds his own unique approach to the score. He wasn’t brought in to remix a modern day version of the original classic music from Goblin so it’s something new. My two favorite things about the original Suspiria were the amazing look the film had & the iconic Goblin score so I was pretty disappointed the new creative team responsible for this “remake” ignored both of those key elements for this. Honestly, I think the wrong people made this feature & it definitely shows . The feature is a little too long & it should have been edited down more for a better flow. The pace is awkward & slow at times because of it. I was surprised how brutal it got for certain scenes & I thought the special effects were top notch in this but it didn’t come close to it’s predecessor. Let’s talk about some of the positives about this new vision. I love the original but it was incoherent so it didn’t make much sense most of the time.
The script for this was much better & it really helped the overall story. The dance choreography was amazing & it’s some of the best I’ve ever seen in cinema. The acting was a major improvement compared to the 1977 version. Tilda Swinton gives one of her best performances & she plays multiple roles in Suspiria, she’s a true chameleon! Dakota Johnson is very sexy & from what I’ve seen from her in the past, this is definitely her best performance in her career so far. I was really impressed because I wasn’t expecting that from her in this. She also looked a natural when doing her dance scenes, she dedicated herself for a few years to train for this lead role. Chloë Grace Moretz was really good in her small role. I wish that character had more scenes in this because she was definitely one of the more interesting ones. The Jessica Harper cameo made me geek out & it was awesome to see her in a feature after all these years. The rest of the supporting cast was solid & it made that whole dancing academy a fascinating place to watch. It may not seem like it but I actually enjoyed Suspiria more than I thought I would. I rushed out & seen it in theaters, I didn’t know what to think after seeing it. It’s one of those movies that you need to digest & revisit. I enjoyed it much more after reviewing this new blu ray. The end is batshit CRAZY & it rewards your patience for the slower moments here, RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Lionsgate! This 1080p (1.85:1) transfer looks great on blu ray & I am shocked that it didn’t get a 4K release here. Like I said before, don’t go into it expecting the same visual style because it’s nothing like the original but it manages to add it’s own vibe to the Suspiria universe. It has two different audio options which include English: Dolby Atmos & English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 on the disc. It’s already one of the best sounding releases from 2019! The dialogue is very clean, all the suspenseful moments are boosted, & the music is definitely elevated on these tracks! Radiohead’s Thom Yorke makes his feature film score debut here & it sounds good, it’s something different from what Goblin did many years ago. It also has English SDH & Spanish subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features from Lionsgate. “The Making of Suspiria” is almost 4 minutes. It has interviews with producer/director Luca Guadagnino, actors Dakota Johnson, Mia Goth, & Renee Soutendijk. Luca Guadagnino shows his appreciation for Dario Argento & the original film. He says he wanted to pay tribute to them but have his own vision for this version. They all talk about the project & their experience on it. “The Secret Language of Dance” is a little over 4 minutes. It has interviews with dance choreographer Damien Jalet, actors Dakota Johnson, & Mia Goth. Damien Jalet mentions the original film was a huge influence on him. He talks about training & putting together all the moves for this film. They talk about all the hard work put into this production for the dance sequences. “The Transformations of Suspiria” is a little over 4 minutes. Special effects artist Mark Coulier goes over his work for the feature. He talks about death scenes & characters he had to create for the production. He says he likes working for a director that usually doesn’t do horror. It has a few Amazon Studios trailers before the film starts. It also comes with a slipcover & a digital code. It’s available everywhere right now, check it out!!!!