Director: Dario Argentio
Runtime: 98 minutes
Starring: Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Udo Kier, Joan Bennett, Alida Valli, Flavio Bucci, Miguel Bosé, Barbara Magnolfi, Susanna Javicoli, Eva Axén, Rudolf Schündler
Description: Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper) is a newcomer to a fancy ballet academy. She gradually comes to realize that the school is a front for something far more sinister and supernatural amidst a series of grisly murders.
Review: Atmosphere is everything in a Dario Argento movie, one of the masters of the so-called ‘giallo’ film (an Italian horror genre). In the openings sequence of “Suspiria” we see how great that atmosphere is created and how this element is very present in the entire movie. Loud percussion, shrieking violins and a creepy melody. And then those monster like voices, which make it extra macabre.
From the first moment you are sucked into this weird fairytale world. The movie starts with Suzy arriving at the airport in Germany. She takes a cab to a dance academy. When Suzy is sitting in the taxi, we see the expressive use of colors by Argento. We see this throughout the entire film. Especially the color red.
The décor is colorful and big, ideal to show the powerlessness of the characters. Suzy arrives at the dance academy. No one lets her in, but she sees a scared girl running away from the building. We follow that girl to an apartment. Argento uses explicit horror. Absolute silence while the girl looks around. Nothing happens, but the tension is there. And when that tension is almost unbearable, the killer strikes. The blood is clearly fake, but it’s expressive and over the top.
The camerawork is impressive: excellent close-ups and angles. Overhead shots or shots from a low angle. There is one shot where we are looking through a light bulb.
With all this audio visual excellence, you almost forget there is also a story. It’s a simple, sometimes illogical story. The dialogues aren’t that great and sometimes gives us aimless scenes. With that the acting isn’t noteworthy either.
This movie makes up for a lot because of how it looks. It’s a truly scary movie, basically because of the suspense, music, décor and colors. That’s what made “Suspiria” into a memorable horror movie. Without that, it was just another bad horror film.
Rating: 3,5/ 5