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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 9.89%
Just Average: 8.79%
Pretty Crappy: 10.99%
Sucks: 10.99%

4 reviews, 67 user ratings

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Suspiria (1978)
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by Jack Sommersby

"Looks Great But is Most Definitely Less-Filling"
2 stars

Another case of an overrated Argento entry that elicits more in the way of guffaws than screams.

Despite some occasional interesting moments, the Italian horror film Suspiria is possessive of a truly awful screenplay and botched execution, both of which the well-regarded Dario Argento is responsible for. It's a classic case of manner over matter, with Argento trying to tell the film mostly through visual means and laying a giant-sized cinematic egg in the process because we could care less about either the boring heroine or the futile goings-on. The paper-thin story has something to do with a young American woman arriving in Rome to study at a prestige dance academy only to soon discover that its staff is composed of a coven of witches who're knocking off those who stumble upon their secret. Actually, it's quite easy for the students to catch on being that the villains are more than a little bit uncouth in carrying out their rituals -- they're more overt than covert about it, and so much so that the audience is left baffled why there's so much as a single student not privy to their secret (which, mind you, is a curiously dunderheaded way of retaining the dancing talent). Heavy footsteps and suspicious noises at night are just a couple of the stock horror elements Argento childishly indulges in, with the intentionally-lurid, bright-colored cinematography by Luciano Tovoli overwhelming the proceedings so much so in that we're constantly made aware of the film as such -- it's reminiscent of the overly-stylized lighting that another Italian cinematographer, Dante Spinotti, garnished upon Michael Mann's serial-killer thriller Manhunter. Suspiria lacks both tension and scares, not to mention nonsubmental dialogue and credible performances and even some semblance of brain cells in light of the quintessentially stupid things the victims indulge in before their untimely demises so as to make the teenager characters in the Friday the 13th series come off as Einsteinian by comparison. Granted, Argento's work is looser here than it was in the painfully-overdeliberate Deep Red though it still involves the camera annoyingly zooming in and pointing out the obvious at way too many turns just like it did in his mediocre Tenebre. All in all, it's an unfrightening, unsurprising film experience by a giallo filmmaker who unfortunately blows more cold than hot and displays zero ability in this case at shaping individual sequences for even moderate effect. Truth be told, an hour-long tax seminar would be more enthralling.

Check out Argento's underrated "Sleepless" instead.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1092&reviewer=327
originally posted: 11/23/08 17:12:23
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2017 Fantasia International Film Festival For more in the 2017 Fantasia International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/12/18 the giver of the law Perhaps the most ludicrously over-rated movie in the entire 129 year history of film-making 1 stars
9/12/17 morris campbell great style & atmosphere eerie as well 4 stars
2/06/17 Louise Highly stylised, hypnotic and hugely enjoyable! Saw it 1st time on the big screen, wow! 5 stars
1/12/17 rk sorry, this movie sucks. acting lighting & plot crap 1 stars
3/09/16 Langano Masterpiece my ass. 2 stars
4/20/15 Zeego123 One of the best nightmare-movies of all time, along with Mulholland Drive. 5 stars
10/01/14 Horror Lover Not without a few slight problems, but still a work of beauty. 5 stars
2/27/14 Miguel Gomez Astonishing. Scariest 20 minutes in any horror flick (the opening). A+ score&cinematography 5 stars
7/10/13 belial1134 Argento's Masterpiece. A must for all giallo fans 5 stars
8/12/11 jiropan i like the background music.......worth a look.... 4 stars
3/16/10 art PURE GARBAGE! 1 stars
11/25/08 Roopesh Killer background music.Explicit horror scenes. 5 stars
11/17/08 brian Much ado about little, both on screen and off. 3 stars
11/16/08 mr.mike Wasn't impressed in '77 , or after watching again now. 3 stars
9/13/07 William Goss A horror film of nothing but atmosphere and aesthetics, but they are quite something. 3 stars
5/20/07 Brandon loved it! 5 stars
3/12/07 Zeynep Görpe This is the best movie of Argento's trilogy. The soundtrack made by Goblins is great! 4 stars
1/10/07 Michael Cox "I once heard that names that began with the letter S, are the names of snakes!!!!" Sssss 5 stars
12/18/06 Indrid Cold The cheese factor is pretty high, but it still works OK. 3 stars
9/27/06 matt what a load of crap! not scary at all! 1 stars
4/28/06 Agent Sands The only good Argento movie I've seen so far. 3 stars
9/04/05 Michael Mackenzie My favourite film ever - a masterpiece in every way. 5 stars
6/11/05 matt the movie go-a who ever thinks this isnt scary...has a brain problem. cant give it 5/5..cos it was 2 scary 5 stars
5/07/05 K. Sear Slow moving and anticlimactic. 3 stars
4/28/05 ThroneofBlood Beautiful murder and the occult, courtesy of Argento. 5 stars
12/02/04 Green Gremlin this beats the pants off any Freddy Krueger movie !!! 5 stars
10/31/04 Jim What the hell were these guys smoking? 2 stars
9/17/04 Joe if this is argento's best are his other movies 2 hours of him wiping his ass? 1 stars
6/06/04 Ryan Clark Lacks a little in the plot department, but this is one of Argento's best... nerve-wracking! 5 stars
5/05/04 dead next door this is deffently argentos best work to date. 5 stars
3/19/04 true review worst horror film ever, not a thinkness of a hair scary or good, dead stupid and boring 1 stars
12/21/03 Ravenheart Argento's best!!!!! 5 stars
11/03/03 Jack Sommersby Good cinematography and editing at service of blah material. 3 stars
11/01/03 American Slasher Goddess Chilling and atmospheric. Argento's best movie. 5 stars
10/17/03 Goofy Maxwell Skin-prickling, throat-constricting, panic-inducing...AAAAAAGGGGGHHHH!!!! 5 stars
8/13/03 Kyle Not bad. 4 stars
7/31/03 GanPN Bad directing, bad acting, bad story, bad movie! 1 stars
7/27/03 HeavyK My first Argento film BUT definetly not the last 5 stars
5/23/03 K.B One of the best italian horror flicks ever! Great music score. 5 stars
2/06/03 .Choadushouse. My new favorite horror movie. Frickin hauntingly beautiful! 5 stars
10/18/02 Charles Tatum Much better than Dario's recent output 5 stars
8/09/02 Tyner fuck euro-horror! This was the lamest piece of shit I have ever watched. 1 stars
4/28/02 dave macdougall forget the plot...the style, set peices and atmosphere make this worth it. 4 stars
3/01/02 Alan Smithee A triumph of style over substance. It always seemed to have the feel of a nightmare. 5 stars
2/18/02 masin wolliams THE most beautiful film ever made. 5 stars
11/30/01 Rutt13 great stuuf, looks and sounds like a genuine nightmare 4 stars
10/15/01 Nanuk Fricken awesome! Must watch more than once to fully appreciate the film! 5 stars
10/15/01 Viper Style over substance, VERY creepy atmosphere! The opening murder scene is viscious! 5 stars
9/29/01 Mohammad J. check out the barbed wire scene! 5 stars
9/07/01 dazzza the best italian shock horror movie ever made! 5 stars
8/13/01 Norman First rate movie. 5 stars
6/25/01 Lars Pettersson The Italian master of horror has made this. Love the camerawork and music! Cool !!! 4 stars
3/30/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) It scared the living hell out of me...and I'm notoriously hard to scare... 5 stars
2/04/01 Invader This movie is poorly directed with litle impact or intensity, a poor attempt at b grade 2 stars
9/24/00 malcolm horrifying! doesn't translate well to the 2K's though. 3 stars
7/11/00 Eric Outstanding, memorably nerve-chilling and Jessica Harper has one of the 'Great Faces' ever! 5 stars
7/06/00 DAVID F**KIN AWSOME!!!! 5 stars
2/03/00 Mr. C A brilliant film. Argento uses music, color scheme, and violence to extreme effect. 5 stars
12/05/99 E Varden Shot like a bad porn film without the porn, awful direction and no continuity. 1 stars
9/18/99 Brian This was an unbelievably bad movie. It paled in the faces of anything ever done before. 1 stars
9/07/99 Elijah Effective, but not the best horror film ever. 4 stars
9/04/99 Weird Andy Scarier than "Blair Witch" or "The Exorcist" 5 stars
7/22/99 Chad Opitz The most terrifying film I have ever seen. And I've seen a lot. 5 stars
6/24/99 Mauro61 Amazing colours use in Argento's masterpiece 5 stars
3/03/99 Jerry-93 Dario, My Lord, you've done it again. 5 stars
10/23/98 Kwyjibo A good film, but doesn't do it all the way for me. Worth seeing though. 4 stars
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  02-Feb-1978 (R)



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