Sunday, October 8, 2017

Film Review: Suspiria (1977)

Suspiria (Review)
Italy/1977
Format Viewed for Review: Amazon Video
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Review Special

"...a twisted horror-mystery film with spectacular visuals."

An American ballet student arrives at a prestigious academy in Germany only to be haunted by mysterious occurrences in the building...

Suspiria follows American ballet student Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper). On a stormy night, Suzy arrives in Germany and travels to the Tanz Dance Academy. However, as she arrives, she witnesses a distraught student, Pat, running out of the building and Suzy is not allowed to enter. By the next morning, Suzy discovers that Pat was brutally murdered during the night prior. She tries to fit in at the academy, but she quickly realizes something is afoot. So, she starts delving deeper into the mystery. What's happening at the Tanz Dance Academy? Who is the mysterious directress? You'll find out most of the answers during its great conclusion. (For better or worse, it does leave some unanswered questions.)

Suspiria is a great film. It's the rare horror film that attempts to get under your skin instead of relying on jump-scares. The characters aren't the deepest, but they are likeable and interesting. The plot is absorbing and engaging, keeping you hooked from beginning to end thanks to its mystery. This isn't a fast-paced thriller, but it's not exactly slow, either. It stays on its feet and it rarely stops moving, although it might not be running at all times. In terms of horror, the film focuses more on atmosphere, suspense, and visual horror instead of jolters. There are quite a few creepy moments, too. Everything about this film screams horror. Even the lighting and shadows (and colors, if you'd like to add it) are used to create a sense of dread.

The acting was great. Jessica Harper is a great leading lady, natural and charismatic. The supporting cast was also good. The music, by Goblin, is also fantastic. It's definitely memorable and catchy. It's the type of music you can listen to without the movie. The film has a few death scenes and, thanks to the practical special effects, they are all memorable. The film was also shot beautifully. The lighting, the angles, the sets... It's all gorgeous. The film was written by Dario Argento and Daria Nicolodi; Argento also directs. This is one of Argento's best films. It is often hailed as one of the greatest horror films of all time. Indeed, it is all-around a great film, particularly because of Argento's direction.

Overall, Suspiria is a great film. It's a twisted horror-mystery film with spectacular visuals. It is a genuinely frightening movie that can make your skin crawl. It's not a film for everyone, though. There are some minor issues with the pacing and the conclusion, although horrifying, leaves something to be desired. Still, if you are an open-minded horror fan, you shouldn't miss Suspiria.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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