Suspiria (1977) – 3.5/5

A pretty, stomach-churning mess of a film with lots of bright colors and cool scenery and some genuinely scary moments amid some rather tepid acting and an incomprehensible plot that somehow manages to make less and less sense as it goes along. And the ending, what in god’s name was going on there? Huh? Talk about bizarre. At least the film is never boring, thanks to its creepy atmosphere and strong undercurrent of justifiably looming dread. If only they had worked on the plot more, or at all for that matter.

The graphic gore here too is a bit distracting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for blood and guts in film, especially horror, but it just feels sadistic here. I mean, is it really necessary to show **SPOILERS** a hand ripping open a woman’s chest and plunging a knife into her still beating heart again and again? Or a girl with pins nailed to her pupils? **END SPOILERS** I think I would have been perfectly fine never having seen either of those things in my life, especially the former. Yikes.

It’s all just graphic violence for graphic violence’s sake, and it doesn’t even make sense within the context of the film. Why are these murders so gruesome and hateful? Where is all this rage coming from? There’s no justification for it here, not in the story at least. Maybe Dario Argento, the director, just doesn’t like ballet dancers. Or blind people. Or dogs.

Overall, not a terrible film. It’s scary and extremely tense at times, especially at the beginning, and the violence, though ridiculous and over the top and disgusting, also lends the film a chaotic quality; a sense that anything can happen, to anyone, at any moment, and that it’ll be quite gory. Sure, it may not make sense plot wise, but nothing else does either, really, so it all fits in a way. The music, cinematography, and overall set design is really outstanding too. It reminded me a bit of Stanley Kubrick’s films, The Shining in particular. Still, the film is dated, and the lack of coherent plot was just something I couldn’t ultimately shake.

Worth a watch if you’re a horror fan, or have a strong stomach, or an inexplicable hatred of ballet.

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