Starring Dakota Johnson, Mia Goth, Tilda Swinton, Chloë Grace Moretz, Angela Winkler, Elena Fokina, Jessica Harper
Opaque. Pretentious. Meandering.
I generally take my time evaluating something like 2018’s Suspiria. Nobody wants to admit that they didn’t get a film; myself included. It polarized critics. Visually striking, baffling, and running nearly 2 1/2 hours, it’s the kind of film I like to get behind. There’s a feeling among cinephiles that the greater the length, the greater the film, but we all know that’s not always true and for all of Suspiria’s subtext, it’s not a work of genuine depth. Dakota Johnson stars as Susie, a sweet, wide-eyed newcomer to a ballet school secretly run by a coven of witches, led by Madame Blanc (Swinton), in 1970s Germany. The setting is Suspiria’s first clue that it’s going in some unnecessary directions. Meanwhile, don’t be fooled by the intriguing premise (taken from Dario Argento’s classic original) or the flood of academic essays that are sure to be written about this film. It’s not that interesting. Like an essay with no outline, Suspiria wanders through a collection of ideas that occasionally hit paydirt. The climax (what should have been the film’s end) is mesmerizing but I didn’t enjoy the journey.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-