The movie that could not be re-made… has been re-made. Good pedigree. But a very daunting task for Luca Guadagnino and cast.
Here we go! A controversial re-make! This one happens to be our own Mike Campbell’s very favorite horror movie. And, it’s been that way for a very long time. Dario Argento’s masterful 1977 film is a landmark of set design, art direction, music, suspense, and overall creepiness. Trying to remake Suspiria is a little like asking someone to try to re-do 2001: A Space Odyssey or Annie Hall. It is so infused with the spirit of the preceding director that anyone attempting to do that has some serious stones (or ovaries).
Enter Luca Guadagnino, hot off of his lauded direction of last year’s multiple Oscar Nominated film (and winner for best original screenplay.) In addition to his recent success, he also happens to be an Italian director, no small thing when you take on one of the masterpieces of the Italian Grand Guignol. He has assembled himself a notable cast of actresses, including Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson, Mia Goth, and Chloe Grace Moretz. The other good news is that this trailer is legitimately creepy, and as I have noted before… the bits of film that were released for viewing at CinemaCon in Las Vegas had people fleeing in horror. And, having been searching for some good photos to use for this piece, saw some images so bizarrely sexual and over the top that I couldn’t convince myself to post images with content that explicit. Yes, I can hear your collective groans of frustration from here… if you want to Dakota Johnson’s chest cavity open up with a gigantic vaginal orifice, it’s out on the internet, folks! (Be careful what you wish for…)
This is a production that Amazon has put a lot of money into. Don’t let the fact that this is an Amazon Prime production fool you. They have a lot of prestige riding on this particular film. Think of films like Mudbound or Beasts of No Nation. They are backing a big production effort here, and if it succeeds, there will be other Horror films that may be launched as a result. Streaming video services (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon) have a shown a willingness to elevate a budget for a prestige Horror film that falls outside the cost that most big production companies would want to fork over, but deserves a budget bigger than your average shaky-cam film. (Sorry Amy, had to go there.)
So, to summarize: Great director. The promise of big-time body horror. A willingness to go full-on David Cronenberg (if Not Dario Argento) with the sexual horror. A strong cast, and a very edgy trailer. It’s about as good as you can hope for. But without the fuschia and indigo hues that Argento brought to the table, will it FEEL like Suspiria? We’ve seen loving homages go terribly wrong… Psycho… cough… cough… Gus VanSant… cough… cough… so this has the potential to be either a landmark for good, or bad. I really don’t see how this will land in the middle ground.
This film is Unrated. (One of the other benefits of going to video, and not to the big screen is that you can push the censorship limit), and will be released on Amazon on November 2nd. Just AFTER Halloween. (Drat)
So, Scariest Things staff… DO YOU WANT TO SEE IT?
I have to say yes. Out of pure curiosity. I’m going to try to separate this from what I know about the Argento classic, and see if this thing holds up on its own. From some of what I know this film is going to make me feel really uneasy. I actually don’t want to see or know much more for fear of spoilers.
Oh…it’s going to get seen! No question. Big question? Is this a 1970s film remade in 1980s? If so, huh? Looks like there’s a couple effectively creepy creeps floating around, but the great thing about the original was the subtlety of the witches. I wasn’t clear from the get-go that the original was dealing with witches — whereas the remake: WITCHES! Music seems fairly creepy, but Mr. Thom Yorke’s got a big hill to climb to overtake the mighty GOBLIN.
I’m not this film’s intended audience. Looks way too artsy and jumbled for my taste. I can’t tell what the plot is from the trailer and I have a feeling that I’d feel similarly after watching the movie. Never seen the original. A couple of the visual effects were interesting, particularly the girl on the wall, and the music was freakin’ great. I’ll still be giving this a miss, though.
As Amy said, what I can see of the effects in the trailer (and the crazy chest vagina that I had to go look up) has me curious. I agree the music sounds amazing, too. I was probably too young to appreciate the original when I saw it many (many) moons ago. I remember something about witches, a lot of colored lighting, and a pit full of barbed wire. The rest of my Suspiria memory is all artsy confusion. I’ll see this one for the cast and the remake controversy. Who knows? Maybe I’m finally old enough to “get it”.