Based on Dario Argento’s 1977 film, Suspiria follows Dakota Johnson’s Susie Bannion as she arrives at a world-renowned dance company and eventually makes a series of shocking discoveries. Filmmaker Luca Guadagnino has infused Suspiria with a tremendously stylish sensibility that does, at the outset, compensate for the less-than-engrossing bent of the movie’s narrative, as scripter David Kajganich delivers a bloated, aimless storyline that contains few (if any) elements to capture and sustain the viewer’s interest – with the picture lumbering along without the aid of much character development or exposition. (The latter proves to be especially problematic, as large swaths of Suspiria make absolutely no sense.) The arms-length feel is perpetuated by an absolutely (and shockingly) tedious midsection that’s devoid of compelling scenes or sequences, and it’s clear, too, that Guadagnino’s inability to inject the movie’s few promising interludes with suspense or terror exacerbates the hopelessly uninvolving atmosphere. (The long, painful death of a dancer is hardly the visceral, gripping set piece it could and should have been.) It goes without saying, certainly, that Suspiria grows more and more unwatchable as it slowly progresses through its absolutely absurd 152 minute running time, while the astonishingly misguided and entirely nonsensical climax ensures that the whole thing ends on as underwhelming a note as one could possibly envision – with the end result an art-house disaster that fails on virtually every level it attempts.

1/2* out of ****

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