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Discussion in 'General' started by The Joker, Aug 25, 2016.
Blu-ray.com reviews the Suspiria remake: https://www.blu-ray.com/Suspiria/637930/#Review
I'm seeing this Saturday, so I'll offer my own thoughts then. But, with all the negative comments so far, I figured I'd post this more positive take on the film from AVClub:
My friend and I saw it today at a large theater with a crowd of about 10 other people. Not a very good showing for opening day. Bottom line, the film was way too long. Had it been trimmed of about 30-40 minutes I think it would have been better. I don't think this one will make it into my video collection.
Yeah once I heard that runtime I thought it would likely be problematic. Especially with the film looking like an arthouse piece. Those kind of films usually love to wollow around in pointless shit and long panning shots, long still shots etc. I don't care if a movie is long when shit is actually happening.
Reminds me of the Revenant. A good film that's just waaay too long for no reason.
Might just wait and not bother to see Suspiria in the cinema.
This screen shots looks so disgustingly artsy, it makes me wanna puke.
That early teaser looked a bit promising, but everything after that have just left a bad taste in my mouth.
I thought the film was a bit dark in scenes. Perhaps that was the director's desired effect but sometimes it was difficult to really see clearly what was happening. Also the film wasn't widescreen (at least in the theater I went to) which kind of surprised me. The soundtrack didn't stand out either. The film would probably be received better if it wasn't called Suspiria as everyone is going to compare it to the original.
I've been noticing that fullscreen is making a comeback lately, at least with indie films. I went to see mid90s last week and that was fullscreen. First Reformed from a few months ago was also fullscreen, and there was a film festival movie I saw last summer called Nancy that starts out fullscreen and switches to widescreen part-way through.
IMDB says the ratio is 1.85:1
Well, that was disappointing. Or maybe just frustrating. Aw, hell, I still don't know how I feel about it.
I'll hit the positives first. The "dance attack" was stunning, brilliant, and, most impressively, visceral. I'd almost recommend the film just for that sequence alone. The performances are all pretty strong, particularly Swinton. And Johnson was pretty good and was quite convincing in the dancing portions. The choreography was really striking and definitely the second best part of the film. The plot is actually quite good and plot twist that leads to the climax was actually a nice little inversion of the original. The make-up for Marcos was really well designed, suitably disgusting and disturbing. And, when the score worked, it did work really well. The film's "pro-feminism" angle is really nicely handled, serving as a contrast to the original's misogyny. There are some interesting "nightmare" sequences that bear a strong resemblance to Ken Russell. And the climax did have a nice bit of batshit crazy about it.
Unfortunately, the film is overstuffed. There are a bunch of subplots that take up a lot of time that really served no purpose. They were all relatively interesting ideas, but in the end, they really just didn't need to be in the story. And I don't know why the whole Baader-Meinhof things needed to be in there.
The Josef stuff was good. Swinton's makeup and performance were great and the cameo from Jessica Harper was really nice. But, this whole story could have been cut out, shaving at least 30 minutes from the run time. And as beautifully shot as all of the Amish stuff was, I really have no idea why any of that mattered. And, if anything, it makes the reveal that Suzy is Mater Suspiriorum even more confusing. Most of the people that I saw the film with didn't even catch that bit. The Amish mother's breathing was a nice call back to the original though
Yes, it's way too long. Oddly, I wouldn't say that any of it was boring though. It's beautifully shot (I didn't have any issues with darkness of the imagery in the theater I saw it in) and most of the performances are captivating. But, after we see the dance routine performed, I was just ready for the film to end. But, no, there was still another hour to go.
And, while the score does hit at times, for the most part, it just rambles along in the background. It's beautiful music and I am a huge fan of Radiohead. But, it's not the sonic assault of the original Goblin score. And, as long as we are comparing, it's nowhere near as striking as Greenwood's scores have been.
While the story is definitely pulling from "Suspiria", everything else about the film reminded me more of Zulawski's "Possession", with its heavy references to the political climate in 70s/80s Berlin and the overstuffed narrative that may have deeper allegories buried in it. But, even in that comparison, it's lacking in the lunacy that makes "Possession" entertaining - or however one would describe the experience of watching "Possession".
In the end, I just don't get why this film was made. Or more specifically, why it had to be called "Suspiria". It doesn't take or rework or re-contextualize anything that made the original striking. While it's certainly stylish, it's nowhere near the levels or creativity of the original. It doesn't really pull much from the original's story either. None of the original films iconic imagery is recreated or commented on. The decision to focus on the dancing was interesting, but we already had "Black Swan" pull that off as a sort of spiritual successor to the original. Re-framing the original's misogyny through a feminist lens is an interesting idea, but it was done much better with "Amer" and "Strange Color of Your Body's Tears". And it doesn't seem like it really had anything to say overall. When all was said and done, I found myself thinking of Rob Zombie's "Lords of Satan" a lot in comparison.
I will say that the group I saw it with was split. Half hated it and half loved it. I'm ambiguously in the middle. If it hadn't been called "Suspiria", I might have been less critical and maybe I could have enjoyed it on its own terms. Though even then, I'd still likely say it was a middling horror film at best due to the high quality of horror films we've had recently.
I'd certainly be interested in seeing it again if it pops up on Netflix, but I wouldn't pay to see is again.
$5 Tuesday and I was curious so I checked it out. I enjoyed it. It didn't feel like 2.5 hours to me and I kinda had to pee through most of it yet I still found it captivating. So that's a high mark in my book. The low level light was great. A lot of moments where you see light reflecting off actor's eyes it's so dark. I saw it on a nice projection system and it looked beautiful. My main critique is that it isn't suspenseful at all. There's a few jump scares that get you more because you weren't expecting it at the moment. But there's no paralleling scenes of dread. Although it tried. That's just not Guadagnino's forte. The score doesn't try to fill that void either. So it was more about me liking a more refreshing look at witchcraft and the story.
It's basically the opposite of "Suspiria" which perhaps it is the only direction a remake could take the story. But that's not going to make anyone happy. If you going in just to see a movie about a ballet school run by witches you'll enjoy it better. There's not a lot of dancing, and when there is it's inter-cut with other stuff. Ironically I think you needed to see Suspiria to get some of the leaps of logic in the remake.
For example Johnson is holed up in a hotel at the beginning and someone ends up staying the night with her. But it's not discussed and the girl just spends the night. It's just knowing that Suspiria had a similar scene where she spends the first night outside the dorm with someone so you could fill in the blanks. Additionally there's a scene where a character counts the steps to figure out the secret room. This is poorly expressed in the remake but one of the few things over explained in the original so I could understand what she was doing. I think the girl even flips between counting up and counting down in the same sequence, so it's really odd to an unknowing audience.
But they don't really try to recreate any of the iconic kills or set pieces. There's just a couple of similar beats and actors who look like characters from the original. But it's mostly a different plot all together. They did use the ballet setting better than Argento did so I'll definitely give it to them.
Johnson was good as the ingenue but ultimately I found wrong for the part. When she was suppose to be clueless it was great, and she did the dancing well, but as she's suppose to be figuring things out I didn't see those wheels turning. Swinton essentially held the film together which is good because the plot revolved more around her character. She drove the narrative. And she was good as the old man. Ultimately I don't know why she played the part; perhaps she asked for it as a condition of doing it just so she herself could get such a challenge. Besides a few shots where you could tell it was someone in heavy makeup (which is often the case with older characters) you'd never questions the performance. The old man's part I don't question. It was to drive the detective mystery which is the drive behind most giallo. This just wasn't a good mystery.
What surprised me was that Moretz was captured by the witches and just dies in the end. Since her character parallel the first girl killed in the original but they turned her into something of a McGuffin I thought they'd do more with her. They had joked that she would be happier filling bottles with petrol and I had visions of her showing up at the end to torch the school. I was surprised when that didn't happen. So she's barely in it and is really just a name for the poster.
A lot of the critic's complaints I didn't get. There's some bashing of its over reliance on the East Berlin settings but it's all just background stuff that's hardly distracting. It's setting a tone. It's not "too arty" as the plot is pretty straight forward with a few weird shots that any horror film will routinely throw at you. There's nothing that compares to the leaps in logic the original took to have arty sequences. And as I said the ballet is often inter-cut with other sequences so you're never literally sitting through dance recitals. Any feminist themes are pretty well kept in check too. Only someone who doesn't want to have any of it would complain. So the reviews I'd say have been unfair. Especially when these same outlets probably ignored the original Suspiria when it fist came out. To now hold the original against a remake seems fairly hypocritical.
Ultimately I enjoyed it. It's not genre breaking or especially "necessary." But it's a good story about witchcraft well told. And that I can appreciate.
One thing I liked was Johnson saying she wanted to be the ballet company's "hands" and then later after being possessed by Mater Suspiriorum she's seen putting on leather gloves. A nice little nod to Argento's gloved killers prominent in the original but never utilize in the remake.
I tried to book a ticket for this at my local multiplex today but it's been years since I've been there and the online booking system is all allocated seats now and won't let you book a ticket leaving empty seats next to you... fuck that, especially considering the cost is about the same as the blu-ray will be when it comes out. So i'll wait for a download or the disc if that comes first.
Usually I agree with this guys reviews, but still looking forward to seeing this anyway.
I always find this argument interesting. My biggest problem with Hollywood's remake craze of the past 15 years - horror remakes in particular - is the lazy, shot-for-shot, carbon copying they seem to due with most of these films. I think the best examples of remakes, or the very least the most appealing way to remake a film in my opinion, is to take the basic premise of the original film and run with it in a different direction storyline wise, even character wise (i.e. Texas Chainsaw Massacre ('03), Dawn of the Dead ('04), etc.). A perfect example of doing it the "wrong way" would be something like the opening to the "Black Christmas" remake, where they completely redo that opening sequence where the young girl is suffocated with a plastic bag. Not only was there no tension in that scene because I knew what was coming, but why would you do a complete carbon copy of an already great scene in the first place? If I wanted to see that particular scene I would much rather watch the original "Black Christmas" instead.
Although I have yet to see the "Suspiria" remake I'm glad to hear they didn't try to completely redo or copy the original.
I have seen it last Thursday and thought it was amazing. 2,5h but it basically flew by.
Phenomenal production design, dark, brooding, amazing camera work, some incredibly sadistic violence (though it's used very sparingly). And it's far removed from Argento's Suspiria, meaning that both takes on the same material can coexist.
I will surely revisit this on 4K when it hits the home entertainment scene.
I liked it as well, and agree with a poster that likened it to Possession, style wise. The score was very good imo and fit the film very well. When I first saw the trailer I was glad that it appeared the director wasn't trying to emulate the style of the original, and he didn't which is a strong point. The politics might irritate some a little, but hey, they're witches not wenches.
Not sure what the source is but it's available for download now.
I've just preordered the German 4K disc.
It's from Itunes, according to the site I'm downloading from.
Is it just the two versions I've downloaded or is there not meant to be sub-titles for the German parts?
<edit> OK apparently the version released on Itunes doesn't have subs, but the version being released by Amazon on Tuesday will... so best to hold off until then as there appears to be a fair bit of German language.
I watched the first 25 mins and then gave up due to lack of sub-titles but have to say it really didn't do anything for me at all... annoying editing, music and direction. And I wanted so much to like this.
I had thought this was supposed to get a pretty decent release, but apparently not. It never opened theatrically here. Now it's on disc, and most places aren't even carrying it. No go at Wal-Mart, Target, etc.
I grabbed the only copy from Best Buy. FYE also had one copy, but it was missing the slipcover.
I thought as it was made by Amazon studios that it would premiere on prime, I honestly don't think it will be long before its free to view on there.