December 11, 2015

Space Oddities: Susperia Film Review

Susperia Film Review
Figure 1: Movie Poster

Susperia is a film directed by Dario Argento, and co-written by himself and Daria Nicolodi. It is a
1977 Italian horror film, which involves an American transfer ballet student who travels to a dance school in Germany, where she realises that the prestigious academy is not all that it seems. She first enters the academy amidst a number of murders and sinister, supernatural things occurring, which progress and escalate as we watch the film.
"There is little logic in 'Suspiria,' just the exuberance of individual scenes." (Donald J. Levit, 2012)
As said by Levit in this quote, there is little logic in this film. Although watching the film you cannot deny the successfulness of it, which is mainly not due to the film as a story, but of the richness of each scene. How each scene is shot, the colours used, the furnishing, the set all contribute to the exuberance of the film.
The opening 15 minutes really throws the viewer into the typical horror story scenario, with shutters banging open, murderers lurking around mocking two helpless girls who are alone, fighting to get away from the intruder which we cannot see. Right in the beginning there are two gruesome murders which are hard to watch, but it really sets a creepy mood for the rest of the film. The images are very graphic, there is lots of fake blood, close ups of stabbing and a hanging. This use of violence makes the audience very uncomfortable very quickly and may have put some people off of it all together. The use of this sudden violence at the start might have been necessary to the plot because a lot of the middle of the film there is only suggested horror through hushed and whispered dialogue, that is until the end where things escalate again very quickly.

Figure 2: Film Still
 As we near to the end of the film, we see more violence and horror more like what we witnessed in the beginning the film. We watch young girls get murdered and we see traps made of barbed wire, women enclosed in small spaces trying to get away from their attackers. This makes the whole audience feel very claustrophobic and puts you in the shoes of the young girl who is trying to escape.

In terms of colour, this film is very theatrical and has the kind of set design and colour you would see in theatre design. It is all filmed entirely in a studio, and the film does feel very artificial but it succeeds in creating a highly moody atmosphere. Contributing to this is the colour schemes, throughout the film we are flooded in colours or orange, red and accenting blue hues, which create quite a psychedelic and dreamlike quality. This paired with the storyline of madness and confusion, succeeds in working well and creating an atmosphere for the audience. The only time we snap out of this theatricality is when we see the main character Suzy outside in the world in a place other than the academy, and we see finally after being submerged in this heavily crafted world the abnormality of it and the madness which the academy brings.
Figure 3: Film Still
"Argento's skilful use of unsettling, intense colour and stunning set designs adequately obscure the film's numerous structural flaws." (Film4, 2008)
Film 4's quote explains that even though the storyline may have some loopholes, they do not matter because of the intensity of the richness of design in the set, its all very thought out and planned, every detail has been added with consideration to the genre and atmosphere of the film.
Figure 4: Film Still
"A stunning combination of menacing Grand Guignol atmosphere, dazzling colours, gory violence, lush d├ęcor and pounding soundtrack." (Alan Jones, 2013)
In this quote, Jones compliments the film on its violent, dazzling colours, its set and its score. The music does a lot for the film. It is very loud and escalates very quickly, and it is not enjoyable at all to listen to. It seems as if it doesn't makes sense, it is not a typical piece of music, it is orchestrated to make you feel fear. All of these factors combined makes a very successful horror movie.

Anon, (2015). [online] Available at: http://There is little logic in 'Suspiria,' just the exuberance of individual scenes. [Accessed 11 Dec. 2015]., (2015). [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Dec. 2015]., (2015). [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Dec. 2015]., (2015). Suspiria - Film4. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Dec. 2015]., (2015). [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Dec. 2015].
Photobucket, (2015). Photo by posterocalypse. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Dec. 2015].
RadioTimes, (2015). Suspiria | Film review and movie reviews | Radio Times. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Dec. 2015]., (2015). Suspiria. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Dec. 2015].

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