Suspiria (2018)

Out Now On-Demand

Darkness binds the gifted.

Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name) puts his own spin on Dario Argento's classic 1977 fantasy horror. Stars Chloë Grace Moretz (Let Me In) and Guadagnino's A Bigger Splash stars Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson.

"A darkness swirls at the centre of a world-renowned dance company, one that will engulf the troupe’s artistic director, an ambitious young dancer, and a grieving psychotherapist. Some will succumb to the nightmare. Others will finally wake up." (Venice Film Festival)



Winner of the La Pellicola d'Oro Award for Best Special Effects - Costume Design (Franco Ragusa) and the Soundtrack Stars Award for Best Original Song - "A Suspirium" (Thom Yorke), 2018 Venice Film Festival

Directed by

Written by

Fantasy, Horror, Mystery


Rating: R16 Violence, horror & nudity

Italy, USA


Aaron Yap


Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria isn’t the Suspiria you know—and all the better for it. Seemingly unencumbered by any obligation to pander to purists of Dario Argento’s 1977 original, Guadagnino allows his freak flag to fly high with this categorically bananas reworking.

I’ll concur with anyone who find themselves initially missing, and perhaps questioning the absence of, those enigmatic, striking qualities of its predecessor: the pulsating Technicolor primaries, the proggy maelstorm of Goblin’s singular score, the borderline-incoherent Alice in Wonderland-derived dream logic. However, Guadagnino’s version, while more grounded with real-world parallels, is no slouch. It’s a gloriously demented, appropriately heady riff, a sharply disquieting slab of occult art-horror that aligns its Cold War anxieties with the agitated tenor of our present socio-political climate.

The basic ballet-academy-run-by-witches framework of Argento and Daria Nicolodi’s screenplay remains. But Guadagnino and writer David Kajganich have concocted stimulating ways of spinning the story’s elements into new, thematically loaded directions, whether it’s beefing up protagonist Susie Bannion’s backstory with a repressive Mennonite upbringing, leaning on the unrest of its dreary Berlin circa ‘77 setting, or capitalising on the chameleonic, gender-fluid prowess of Tilda Swinton.

It does make for a lengthy sit, and understandably some will balk at its excessive exposition. But it’s also genuinely mesmerising, sustaining a two-and-a-half-hour duration with lashings of camp, rhapsodic dance choreography and wildly unpleasant body-horror that somehow doesn’t even begin to prime us for the orgiastic freefall of a climax.

Guadagnino’s Suspiria is the rarest of horror remakes—one that I’m actually pleased remade of my favourite films of all time.



I expected to be peering at the screen between splayed fingers, but instead I was peering at my watch.

Hollywood Reporter


Guadagnino has made an ambitious homage, but it doesn't really benefit from its more intellectualised gaze, instead draining the stomach-churning thrills of great horror.

The Guardian


There are smart moments of fear and subliminal shivers of disquiet, the dance sequences are good and of course Guadagnino could never be anything other than an intelligent film-maker. But this is a weirdly passionless film.

TimeOut (New York)


Traditional horror fans won't be pleased: Almost transgressively, Guadagnino has deprioritised the shocks, even the fear. But in their place, he's pumped up the exotic strangeness and crafted a movie you can get lost in, which is the ultimate tribute.

Variety (USA)


By the time it drags itself to the finish line, you may think, "Okay, now we know what 'Suspiria' looks like as an art film. Can we please go back to when it was just a garishly flamboyant piece of bat-house trash?"



Suspiria is a gorgeous, hideous, uncompromising film, and while it seeks to do many things, settling our minds about the brutality of the past and human nature is not one of them.

Screen International


The passion of Guadagnino's messy vision - the swirl of emotions he conjures on this grand canvas - has a forcefulness that mostly transcends its sizable flaws. (Graeme Tuckett)


Any film from Guadagnino demands to be seen, and Suspiria is no exception. But I kinda wish all this effort and skill had been expended in the service of a truly new story, not a project that invites comparison to an of-its-time unimprovable original.

A Bleak Beautiful Masterpiece

As an enormous fan of the original and its director Dario Argento I would usually be opposed to a remake. But with Luca Guadagnino, director of such masterpieces as 'Call Me By Your Name', 'A Bigger Splash' and 'I Am Love'at the helm I was most certainly excited. Suspiria blows every expectation I had out the water and delivers a deeply disturbing nightmare that left me shaking when I left the theatre. The beautiful cinematography and direction brings this film to a whole other level and I can't say enough about it. Do yourself a favour and seek this one out, its well worth it.

Film of the year so far

I loved this but I can totally understand why someone wouldn’t. My kind of messed up. Loved the historical (or is it?;))context to the film as well, always enjoy films set in Germany during the time of the Berlin Wall. And Thom Yorke’s music...beautiful. Looking forward to some rewatches. Hopefully this at least gets nominated for sound design.

Slow and deliberate arthouse chiller

Dario Argento’s 1977 SUSPIRIA is a cult classic, a psychedelic, colour-splashed, giallo slasher, inspired by Thomas De Quincey’s 1845 essay ‘Suspiria de Profundis’.

Now re-imagined by CALL ME BY YOUR NAME director Luca Gaudagnino, the story remains intact, with a young dancer attending the prestigious Markos Dance Academy in Germany, only to discover it is run by a coven of witches.

The new version is set in a still divided 1977 Berlin, a time and place which provide a suitably loaded political setting and grim, austere backdrop to the strange goings on.

Gaudagnino has claimed inspiration from the German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder and, like Fassbinder’s work, this SUSPIRIA is slow, thoughtful, pondering, deliberate and builds not so much a sense of tension as a general eerie aura of off-kilter oddness.

Personally, I missed the wildly over-the-top, operatic craziness of Argento’s original giallo, replete with colour and pace that built tension and piled on the disturbing imagery and sound. Argento’s soundtrack was by Italian band Goblin, but in this version it’s Thom Yorke of Radiohead who provides the haunting score, in a film full of symbolic images, meditating on the nature of the feminine, creativity and power.

Whereas Argento employed a startling, bright colour palette and deliberately disconcerting camera angles, Gaudagnino delivers much of his movie in dull, drab tones, so as to contrast them with the bright colours employed in the film’s climax.

Twisted body horror scene aside (in which Dakota Johnson’s Susie dances, whilst the dancer she’s replaced is literally smashed to pieces in another room by her movements), the only true terror comes in the form of swiftly edited and highly effective montages, featuring maggots and blood.

Part fairy tale, part body horror, as in BLACK SWAN, perhaps the dancers and their teachers symbolise the artist striving for perfection.

Think WHIPLASH, only with dance rather than drums driving the protagonists to their limits. The cast are all-round great, with Chloë Grace Moretz as Patricia, Mia Goth as Sara, and Tilda Swinton playing several characters, beneath some pretty impressive make-up and latex.

Gory and blood-spattered, it’s a thoughtful meditation on matriarchy, but oh is it slow, to the point it becomes something to muse on, but so far removed from emotion it fails as a horror movie because it’s simply not scary.

Perhaps that’s the point. Stanley Kubrick’s THE SHINING comes to mind. Slow and deliberate with stunning imagery, but rarely does it scare because it fails to connect emotionally.

Yeah, I know, like comedy, horror is subjective, so if you like your terror served in slow drip, drip, drips – SUSPIRIA may be for you. Certainly it’s beautifully and deliberately crafted, but at two-and-a-half-hours it ends up more art-house than charnel house, more thoughtful than terrifying, more ponderous than powerful.