6.04.2009

QUICKIE: Suspiria (Dario Argento, 1977)

Suspiria, the first (and long overdue) Argento I've taken in, is a sandwich made with delicious bread and zesty condiments but lackluster meat. The opening slice didn't hesitate to plaster me to the wall and bat me around, claws bared, and I was ready for the astounding barrage of beautiful terror to continue. The meat of the film, while fast-paced, didn't move things along very well though, to the point where Argento only begins to hint at some semblance of storyline around the halfway mark. What we do have is thoroughly flavored with a keen use of light, shadow, color and pattern that is reminiscent of German expressionism and the score provides an aural banquet that can't be argued with.

As I've heard many times about the notorious director's work, however, it is style over substance. Argento seems to understand the aesthetics of horror very well, but since he doesn't provide us with any comprehension of the unfolding events, we are left with what is, at its best moments, a really great-looking music video. Without knowing at least a little bit about what's going on, it is difficult to invest in anything beyond what is presented on the surface. Once we do become clued in, the events, to an extent, mirror the third act of Rosemary's Baby. Thankfully, the closing slice is a great payoff for the patient, as it is equal to if not better than the opening.

Overall it's well worth the watch though while exemplifying some of the tastiest aesthetics the horror world has to offer, writers won't be taking cues from it any time soon.

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