'Suspiria': Top 5 reasons why Luca Guadagnino's remake of Dario Argento's 1977 horror classic will not be the same
Guadagnino is picking up Argento's classic to bend it every way in order to bring the story of the Three Mothers closer to the modern audience.
It is not always necessary that a remake has to be something bad. When the first teaser of 'Suspiria' was released by Amazon Studios, many people were of the opinion that Luca Guadagnino has stepped into his own trap by trying to imitate the 1977 classic which was directed by the maestro, Dario Argento. However, keeping all opinions aside it can be said that the new trailer of Guadagnino's 'Suspiria' is just as spooky as Argento's original work.
While it can almost be considered that trying to remake something which has been the landmark in filmmaking is almost like digging your own grave, it can also be regarded that a remake is often a homage. As Guadagnino has himself said that 'Suspiria' (2018) is more of a homage to the original masterpiece than just another remake, the trailer proves the fact that it is going to be a whole different story altogether. The original 'Suspiria' star, Jessica Harper who had played the role of the protagonist, Suzy, too mentioned that Guadagnino's remake is actually a perfect one."
The actress posted on her Facebook page, "I have seen this movie – the most brilliantly scary film I have ever seen. Luca’s ‘Call Me By Your Name’ does not prepare you for it, but throws into relief the director’s brilliance and versatility.” Keeping in mind Harper's words about the movie is a brilliant one, here are the five things that will certainly set apart Guadagnino's homage to the original one.
1. The Protagonist
Guadagnino's 'Suspiria' more or less follows a similar story as the original where a young dancer, named Suzy Banyon, comes down to the prestigious dance academy in Germany in order to perfect her craft in dancing. However, she soon realizes that the academy has very dark secrets, and as she tries to find out the truth about the place she confronts several incidents which compel her to flee the academy.
In Argento’s movie, Suzy (played by Jessica Harper), was a portrayal of a character who was clearer on the white side of the character graph. It was she who puts an end to the evil forces inside the academy just after her friend is brutally murdered. However, Guadagnino’s ‘Suspiria’ which sees Dakota Johnson take up the lead role, will probably have a different story to tell. Unlike Harper’s Suzy who grew increasingly suspicious of Madame Blanc, the vice-directress of the academy, Johnson’s Suzy seems to be enthralled by her. In the trailer, Suzy almost appears to be baffled at Blanc’s charismatic persona. In fact, Johnson’s Suzy portrays none of the rectitude that was the key point of Harper’s Suzy. Instead, through all the close-ups, her dull and rather vile gaze becomes pretty evident.
Probably, Guadagnino’s protagonist will prove to be far more grey as a character that Argento’s.
2. Color palette
One of the most common features between a Guadagnino and an Argento film is the vast play of colors. Both the Italian directors have always used an extensive color palette to set the mood for the film. It shouldn’t be a surprise that both of them have used very different shades of colors to portray an almost similar story, now set in two different eras.
Argento’s ‘Suspiria’ was eerie in its treatment of vibrant colors. Cinematographer Luciano Tovolli had used the three primary colors - red, blue, and green - to give the audience a sense of the general flow of life. However, he splashed bright yellow and red on some scenes to put up an unreal projection of the world. While Argento’s film was inspired by the Technicolor grandeur of Disney's 'Snow White' (1937), Tovolli stated, “To immediately make Suspiria a total abstraction from what we call ‘everyday reality,’ I used the usually reassuring primary colors only in their purest essence, making them immediately, surprisingly violent and provocative."
A complete shift takes place in Guadagnino’s ‘Suspiria’. The ‘Call Me By Your Name’ director has stripped off the primary and replaced them with gloomy shades of brown, black, and grey- leaving only a few stains of red. Guadagnino seems to have adopted the classic style of horror-storytelling by setting his characters against a predominantly clouded atmosphere. The characters and their clothes appear in shades of grey, charcoal, graphite, and smoke. Except for Johnson’s red hair and red top, everything else is set against a passive undertone.
Unfortunately, Guadagnino has also done away with the original gory soundtrack which was composed by Goblin and has replaced it with Thom Yorke’s droning track. However, it is certainly not inappropriate but rather refreshing.
Goblin has given ‘Suspiria’ its original sense of paranoia and trepidation. The consistent keynotes of Moog’s synthesizer, coupled with funk’s bizarre rhythm and dissonance, had set the perfect clue for some ruthless murders and life-changing experiences. On the other hand, Yorke’s tedious humming sound pushes the mind towards a more preternatural experience. Nevertheless, both tracks have done justice to the death-like waltz in their own way.
Listen to Goblin's track below:
4. The three mothers
Argento’s ‘Suspiria’ is just one part of his Three Mothers trilogy- the other two being ‘Inferno’ and ‘The Mother of Tears’. Inspired by Thomas de Quincey’s 1845 psychological essay, ‘Suspiria de Profundis’, Argento had divided the story of the three mothers across three movies.
Setting his films across France, Germany, and Switzerland, Argento told the story of the Three Mothers in a chronological order, with ‘The Mother of Tears’ putting an end to the saga. However, Guadagnino puts them all together in one. A particular shot in the trailer shows a page with the three names written on it: Mater Lacrymarum (Our Lady of Tears), Mater Suspirium (Our Lady of Sighs), and Mater Texebrarum (Our Lady of Darkness). This might point towards the fact that Guadagnino’s story will be inclusive of all three Argento movies, and maybe - with the protagonist being portrayed under a different shade - within one film he will attempt to wrap up the legend of the Three Mothers.
5. New characters
Since Guadagnino’s story will be a different one, it won’t come as a surprise if some new characters are added to it. Probably the new and refreshing part of the movie will be Chloe Grace Moretz’s character who can be seen in a disoriented state in the trailer. It can be assumed that Moretz’s character will be drawn around the periphery of Suzy’s friend Sara, who was played by Stefania Casini in the 1977 classic. However, unlike Sara who acted as a catalyst in the movie, Moretz's character might have a more intimate story to tell. The trailer shows her mumbling at a therapy session about the kind of torture that she has suffered at the academy. Some clips show an image of a missing girl, which on a closer look suggests being Moretz.
It wouldn’t be a fair idea to dismiss Guadagnino’s homage to the original. The director has proved over and over again that he is one of the best storytellers of our times, and along with Tilda Swinton (who is almost a regular in his films) he is capable of creating magic with his work.
Watch the trailer of Guadagnino's 'Suspiria' below: