Suspiria Blu-ray Review

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The Movie: 7/10

I don’t say this very often, this movie is weird! That’s not an insult. I love weird. When you watch as many movies as I have in a lifetime (51 years, about 45 of those watching movies) you find a place for every kind to fit into the spectrum. I like, or find a way to like, something in most films. That doesn’t sound like I’m loving Suspiria, but it’s one of THOSE movies that challenges all the boring “rules” and is hard for me to stick in it’s own little box of like, love, or neutral. 

What did I really enjoy about the movie? It’s a hard question to answer, and if you have or when you do see it you’ll know why. It’s not an entertaining story, not really. It’s confronting and mysterious and enjoyment for me came after the whole thing was over and I thought about it. Looking back I was fully entertained by the overall vibe. It’s unsettling and ominous, which is one of my favorite things. I like to have those odd sounds, music, sets, and art direction that is confusing and uncomfortable at times.

By the way, this story is about a young woman who has entered a coven of witches, yes, witches. She is surrounded by and consumed by these witches’ dark plans for her and for all the other young women in the dance company. Oh, it’s a dance company that is actually a coven of witches, did I mention that? The dancing, while intense and beautiful, is often violent and obtuse and feels very aggressive, which is serving the purpose of the head witches in charge. They are weeding out the weaker dancers in their quest to find the one to, from what I understand, replace the head witch. Now, there is some coven politics going on, which got a bit convoluted, but to be honest it didn’t really do much for the story for me. What I understand is that there is THE MOTHER witch who needs new blood, as most witchcraft stories go, so they need to sacrifice either the body or soul of someone new, but not just anyone, someone who can handle their mind and body being infiltrated by this coming storm of darkness.

This ain’t your friendly witches from Charmed, or Hocus Pocus, this story is about witches who wallow  around in blood, take great joy in manipulating and humiliating men, and who have nothing good on their agenda, nothing good at all. They are dangerous, and by the time the movie is over I’m convinced they could actually take over the world, but for some reason they are hanging back, doing their thing, waiting for a better time to enslave us all? Maybe part of what I like about this movie is that I’m not sure what these ladies are actually up to, not even when it’s all over. The uncertainty blends well with the weirdness.

As for the dancing, it’s amazing and hypnotizing, even if it can border on pretentious at times. It seems a bit up the ass of the dance world with the intensity of Black Swan, and what we all think we know about becoming a premiere dancer.

The rest of this story includes an old man, the search for a missing girl, post WWII grit and grime in Europe, and unfortunately it doesn’t all meld together with the witch coven and the ultimate bloody extra-weirdness for the climax. A better overall story would have made it more entertaining, but the attempt at being an arresting experience where we all wonder what the hell is going on, success.

Features: 6/10

  • The Making Of Suspiria (4 Minutes) –EPK style featurette that discusses the original movie and how the re-imagining came to be.
  • The Secret Language Of Dance (4 Minutes) – A look at choreographer Damien Jalet and the dance used in the film.
  • The Transformations Of Suspiria (4 Minutes) – Makeup and special effects during the films key sequence are discussed.
  • Blu-ray &  Digital Copy

Audio & Video: 9/10
Presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Lionsgate this AVC 1080P transfer has an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. This is by no means as vibrant a looking movie as the 1977 original and is almost exactly the opposite in terms of color levels. Shot on film fine grain is evident as it should be and flesh tones look good throughout. There are a few banding issues at the very start during the production credits but aside from that Suspiria looks great.

The Dolby Atmos track used here is an amazing technical achievement. Thom Yorke’s score sounds haunting and enveloping. The final act let me call it the crimson act is a full on showcase for what Dolby Atmos can do. Take a listen I dare you!!!!

Overall Score 7/10