SUS­PIRIA

Hurty danc­ing…

Total Film - - Big Screen - Jamie Gra­ham

OUT 16 NOVEM­BER

Call Me By Your Name di­rec­tor Luca Guadagnino’s re­make of Dario Ar­gento’s gonzo mas­ter­piece is un­co­in­ci­den­tally set in 1977, the year the orig­i­nal Sus­piria came out. There are a few more nods and winks, but like other suc­cess­ful hor­ror re­makes (Her­zog’s Nos­fer­atu, Car­pen­ter’s The Thing, Cro­nen­berg’s The Fly), this is a whole­sale reimag­in­ing.

The gist is the same – Amer­i­can dance stu­dent Susie Ban­nion (Dakota Fan­ning) at­tends a Ger­man academy run by a coven of witches – but we’re now in Ber­lin in the shadow of the Wall. In place of Ar­gento’s daz­zling colours and Gob­lin’s hellish noise-mon­ger­ing are win­try hues and Thom Yorke’s elo­quently evil ar­range­ments. The two-and-a-half-hour run­time, mean­while, is stud­ded with di­gres­sions. In fact, the whole thing as­pires to such up­scale arti­ness it seems de­ter­mined to be the last word on the ‘el­e­vated hor­ror’ de­bate.

But Fan­ning is good and Tilda Swin­ton, as the academy’s for­mi­da­ble grand dame Madame Blanc, is bet­ter. Mean­while Guadagnino, like Ar­gento, is hell-bent on dis­ori­en­tat­ing view­ers. What’s more, there are Grand Guig­nol flour­ishes that go straight into the genre’s pan­theon, in­clud­ing a death-by-dance num­ber, and an outré cli­max that bursts, lit­er­ally, with in­san­ity, tu­mult and ex­ul­ta­tion.

THE VER­DICT

Not all of it works and it nat­u­rally can’t touch the orig­i­nal, but much of Guadagnino’s re­make is dev­il­ishly fine.

Madame Blanc, lady in… red. CER­TIFI­CATE TBC DI­REC­TOR luca Guadagnino STAR­RING Dakota Fan­ning, Tilda swin­ton, Chloë Grace moretz, mia Goth SCREEN­PLAY luca Guadagnino DIS­TRIB­U­TOR mubi RUN­NING TIME 152 mins

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