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.
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