Suspiria

Suspiria ★★★★½

A Technicolor nightmare is the best way to describe Dario Argento's "Suspiria." Jessica Harper stars as Suzy Bannion a ballet student that's recently transferred to a prestigious academy in Germany. As she arrives at the school she see sees a young woman fleeing in the pouring rain, only to learn the next day that she has been murdered. Suzy soon starts to realise that the school is a hotbed for strange occurrences and untimely death. She then takes it upon herself to investigate the school, making her a prime target for her would be murderers.

"Suspiria" turned 40 years old last year and it still hasn't lost any of its chilling edge. Whilst this isn't my favourite Argento film (that goes to "Deep Red") it's still one of his best films. It’s also one of his strongest and most straightforward screenplays. Though one slight disappointment I had with the script was that I found the mystery to be slightly lacking.

Despite that one negative there was only one other issue I had with the film and that was the dubbing. Thankfully being fairly well versed in Italian Giallo’s this didn't bother me much, as I knew what to expect. However, for an average viewer that doesn't watch many foreign films I can understand why it would be slightly off-putting.

With that being said there was so much to admire about this film. I'm someone who places a high value on visuals and visual storytelling. After all film is a visual medium first and foremost. And this film has some of the most vivid and provocative cinematography and lighting I've ever seen in a film. It's clear to see how much influence this film has had on current filmmakers, most notably Nicolas Winding-Refn and Darren Aronofsky for example. The colour pallet of this film was extraordinary and it set the tone for each scene perfectly. Whether that's an intense explosion of radiance from the red light or the chilling isolation of the blue, it's used to brilliant effect and gives the film a fairy tale quality that seldom few directors have been able to replicate since.

The film is also accompanied by a stylish synth score that's become synonymous with the Giallo genre. Whilst it does sound slightly dated it gives the film an eerie atmosphere and supplements the mounting tension of every scene. The film also contains some of the more memorable characters created by Argento, and all of the actors do a terrific job with their roles (minus the dubbing). All these elements come together to create a vivid, nightmarish film that has managed to stand the test of time, and remain relevant in the horror genre. "Suspiria" is one of the behemoths of the horror genre and Dario Argento cemented his legacy with this film alone!

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