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Film / Suspiria (2018)

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Suspiria is a 2018 supernatural horror film directed by Luca Guadagnino and written by David Kajganich, and a remake of 1977 Dario Argento classic of the same name, with music composed by Thom Yorke.

Susie Bannon (Dakota Johnson) is a young American woman studying at a dance academy in 1977 West Berlin. Following a series of mysterious disappearances, Susie, her friend Sara (Mia Goth), and elderly psychologist Dr. Josef Klemperer ("Lutz Ebersdorf" note ) launch an investigation into the school that reveals dark secrets about the instructors, including Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton), likely wished to remain hidden. Chloe Grace Moretz also stars.


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Suspiria contains examples of:

  • The '70s: Incidentally set in the same year Dario Argento's original Suspiria came out.
    • The German Autumn of 1977 is a background event for the plot thread concerning Patricia and her disappearance from the academy.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Suzy in the original had dark brown hair, while Susie in the remake is a redhead.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Susie. She violently takes over the coven at the end of the film and may have been a witch the whole time. On the other hand, her civil treatment of Dr. Klemperer and expelling the more heinous witches of the coven puts her more in an Adaptational Badass role.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Was Susie an ambitious-if-naïve dancer who was corrupted by the coven's magic into becoming a vessel for Mother Suspiriorum even before the Volk ritual was completed, or was she Mother Suspiriorum the whole time, and used the events of the movie as a way to prove who was loyal to her and exact revenge on those who weren't?
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  • Bittersweet Ending: Susie becomes Mater Suspiriorum and defeats Markos and her cohorts with the help of Death itself and Madame Blanc survives despite a grievous injury. On the other hand, Patricia, Olga and Sara are dead (though are given graceful Mercy Kills) and Josef Klemperer has his memory wiped at the hands of Susie/Susiriorum to prevent him from exposing the existence of the witches.
  • Body Horror: Oh, mother—
    • A key sequence in the film features Olga having her body violently twisted and her bones broken. The worst part? She's still alive afterwards.
    • Sara literally breaking a leg in the Volk sequence.
    • Helena Markos, natch.
    • Susie's Vagina Dentata.
    • Sara, in a trance during the final ritual, being graphically disemboweled, remaining standing and seemingly-unaffected as her intestines are splattered to the ground.
  • Color Wash: Unlike the original film, which was very vibrantly colored, this version favors a drab, earthier shade of brown throughout.
    • Averted in the climactic sequence, which bathes the chaos in a red filter.
  • Composite Character:
    • The remake's version of Sara takes on part of the role filled by the original Susie Bannion, being the one who leads the investigation into the coven.
    • Susie is Mother Suspiriorum in this version.
  • Creepy Blue Eyes: Sara switching eye colors with Susie in the Volk sequence. Susie's turn brown.
  • Chromosome Casting: All of the film's significant characters are women except for Dr. Klemperer (who's still played by a woman.)
  • Death by Adaptation: Olga, who simply disappeared from the story in the original film, gets the first prominent death scene in this version.
  • Decomposite Character: Helena Markos and Mother Suspiriorum are two separate entities in this iteration; just who Mother Suspiriorum is becomes a key part of The Reveal (for more info, see Composite Character).
  • Drone of Dread: Hidden between dissonant pianos and Krautrock weirdness, quite a few numbers in Thom Yorke's score love this trope; "The Epilogue" takes the cake for its last minute almost verging on infrasound.
  • Fan Disservice: In the finale, most of the dance company is naked, and Susie is wearing an Absolute Cleavage robe. Even though they're all young and beautiful, however, the jerky, frenetic movements of the dancers (plus the strong implication they can't stop), combined with Susie's Vagina Dentata right between her breasts and the general amount of blood and gore, makes it all very unsexy.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Susie. It's a very different direction compared to the more typical heroine Suzy of the original.
  • Gorn: Hoo boy. Argento would be proud.
  • Homage: Director Luca Guadagnino has described the film as more of an homage to the feelings he had while watching the original movie for the first time as opposed to a strict retelling of the story.
  • Improbably Female Cast: Much like the original film, the cast is largely female. note 
  • Important Haircut: Susie gets a haircut in preparation for the dance exhibition, symbolizing her growth from ingénue to lead performer.
  • Ironic Echo: "No other mother". First said by "Mother" Markos to Susie. Then re-stated by Mother Suspiriorum as she cleans house of all those who backed Helena.
  • Kiss of Death: Susie seals each request for a Mercy Kill with a kiss.
  • The Lost Lenore: Anke, who was revealed to have died in the hands of Nazis at Theresienstadt.
  • Mercy Kill: Given to a very willing Patricia, Olga, and Sara at the end, who have been brutally wounded, mutilated and are walking corpses.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Susie, coming to the academy without any knowledge of its goings-on. Allegedly. It's not clear whether or not her ignorance was only an act the whole time.
  • Oh, Crap!: Helena Markos when she realizes that Susie isn't what/who she appears to be.
  • One-Word Title: Simply Suspiria.
  • Practical Effects: Most of the gore and Body Horror makes use of these rather than CGI. This behind the scenes video goes into more detail (Word of warning: Spoilerific and very NSFW.)
  • Remake Cameo: Jessica Harper (aka the original Suzy) has a small role as Klemperer's wife.
  • Right in Front of Me: The witches' final ceremony is brought to an abrupt end when Susie asks Markos which of the three mothers she represents. When she responds the she has inherited the position of Mother Suspiriorum, Susie responds, "I am she."
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Thom Yorke's beautiful, forlorn piano-driven song "Unmade" plays as the avatar of Death strolls around the sabbath chamber exploding heads left and right.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: To the original film, believe it or not. Putting the two films side-by-side is one of the best examples possible of how two filmmakers can take virtually the exact same story and come away with two radically different takes on it, from their visual styles to the beats of the story and how they progress.
  • Sweetie Graffiti: Klemperer and Anke's cottage has a heart carved into an outside corner, with their initials. The last shot of the film is of the cottage, now occupied by a new family, with the heart faded but still present. Susie is seen touching it at The Stinger too.
  • Unconventional Formatting: A poster of an upcoming performance in the film, some of its promotional materials, and even movie tickets make use of randomly aligned letters that look like the words they form just splattered into position. Even their Twitter account likes to invoke this every so often.
  • Your Head Asplode: When Mother Suspiriorum returns to the coven, this happens to every member who had voted to keep Helena Markos in power.

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