Suspiria (1977) Poster

(1977)

User Reviews

Add a Review
528 ReviewsOrdered By: Helpfulness
10/10
''She must die, die, DIE! "
phillindholm30 August 2005
"Suspiria" has been acclaimed as director Dario Argento's masterpiece. And it certainly is. The plot is fairly simple. American ballet student Susy Banyon (Jessica Harper) travels to Germany to attend an exclusive ballet school. Once there, she discovers that there is more going on within than just dance instruction. Although the school's directress, Madame Blanc (Joan Bennett) welcomes her warmly, she is unsettled by her aide, Nazified teacher Miss Tanner (Alida Valli), as well as several mysterious student disappearances. When her new friend Sara (Stefania Casini) is the latest to vanish, Susy begins her own investigation of the academy. Filmed in bright, lurid Technicolor, and accompanied by a thundering soundtrack by Goblin, Suspiria is a nightmare-come-to-life. The performances of Harper, Bennett and especially Valli (like Bennett, a major star of the Golden Age) are solid, as is the unrelentingly creepy atmosphere. Also on display are two especially gruesome murders which happen near the beginning of the film. Argento later said that he modeled the look of the film directly on Walt Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and, indeed the similarities are apparent. "Suspiria" may not always make perfect sense plot wise, but it's a thrilling roller-coaster ride through what may very well be Hell. "Suspiria" ranks as one of the best Italian-made horror films of all time.
127 out of 175 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Red Blood Drips
Argento's best known film is probably his most expressive. This is a gem to look at with all it's lush Italian colors seeping out like a blood covered canvas. If you are looking for a horror film for intellectuals, this isn't it, but if you want something that will definitely impress you, you've found it. It concerns an old dance company in Freiburg Germany that is headed up by an old witch matriarch who leads the coven in diabolical methods. An unsuspecting student, played wonderfully by Jessica Harper, finds herself piecing together a mystery when she arrives at the school in one of the most enigmatic and beautiful commencements of a film to date. Argento has music, colors, and sounds reverberate like an opera for our eyes to dazzle. He scares us with the rain, the closing of an automatic airport door, and loose tree branches that resemble evil lurking beings. This is one powerful moment. From then on, subtle hints are explored, the supernatural, science, one's faith. Never can we guess what is truly hiding at the academy. One scene of the dance students in the hall is superbly done with loud music, hideous heckling demonic shrieks and strange appearances, this is fantastic eye candy!
87 out of 125 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
The most horrifying use of color to date.
Emil_H8 March 1999
What sets Dario Argento apart from many of his contemporaries is his success with visual imagery. In a style where sudden visual shocks are used to thrill the audience, Argento creates elaborate deaths which cannot be quickly forgotten. The highly involved double-murder towards the beginning of the film still remains one of the most memorable scenes in horror history, standing next to the Psycho "shower scene" in pure sensory input. And in a technique so powefully employed here and here alone, Argento sets scene after scene aglow with color, using it to express the mood in ways only the subconscious can fully appreciate. All around, this is an excellent addition to the genre of horror cinema, one of the most expressive films to ever plunge a knife into the psyche of its viewers.
111 out of 165 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Artistic Nightmare
Lechuguilla30 June 2004
A German ballet school for girls is the setting for mysterious deaths, in this 1977 horror story, written and directed by Dario Argento. "Suspiria" is a visually stunning film.

The images contain objects we recognize, like people, buildings, and interior decor. But the objects seem vaguely menacing, and less real than surreal, as though they symbolize ideas, repressed desires, or subconscious fears. The vivid, rich colors, strange camera angles, deep shadows, and bright light piercing through darkness, all contribute to the impression that the viewer is trapped in someone else's nightmare.

One haunting segment of the film takes place in a huge, and strangely empty, public square, at night. A blind man and his German shepherd dog stand in the middle of the square, surrounded by imposing buildings of neo-classical architectural style. Some professional reviewers of this film have suggested that the public square is a veiled reference to Hitler and Nazism. Indeed, one could argue that the film's subtext is an indictment of fascism.

"Suspiria" is not for everyone. It is unsettling, and at times grisly. The plot is weak, and plot elements are not really explained. The acting is largely irrelevant. And while the background music is suitably gothic, it is also frantic and monotonous.

The best approach to this "art-house" film is to ignore the superficial plot, and focus instead on the fabulous cinematography, and the gothic images as conceptual metaphors.
107 out of 162 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
The most beautiful horror film ever
Bjorn (ODDBear)19 October 2004
Dario Argento's crowning achievement in stylish film-making.

Suspiria is the most beautiful horror film ever made. Every single frame of this film is expertly lit and colorful. With this technique Argento manages to create an almost unbearable amount of tension and the extremely brutal and bloody murder sequences look so good one can only admire their beauty. The music score by Goblin is one of the most effective score ever to grace a horror movie.

The story concerns an American ballet student who discovers that a coven of witches run the school as bodies begin piling up.

Not much of a story here, but that's really not the main thing. Style and atmosphere is the main course here, and it's execution is completely flawless. Acting and dubbing are okay and the dialogue is a bit stiff. But these are minor flaws in an operatic horror ride one is not likely to forget that easily.

So sit yourself down, turn out the light, and watch this movie in surround sound, 'cause the music alone will totally give you the creeps.
61 out of 89 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Superb horror film
preppy-329 October 2005
Susie Bannon (Jessica Harper) goes to a dance academy in Germany to study. It turns out its run by a witches coven and they'll kill anybody who threatens them...

That's about it for plot. There IS a plot but it jumps all over the place...but it doesn't matter. This movie is fascinating just to look at and hear it. The settings are truly bizarre and done in eye-popping color. They're complimented by the excellent use of color and lighting. Also the group Goblin contributes to it a downright terrifying and LOUD score which really starts to work on you. The murder scenes are graphic--VERY graphic. The opening double murder is shocking and bloody. There are many great sequences that you just look at in wonder HOW this was done. My favorite is when Sarah (Stefania Casini) is being stalked through the academy late at night by an unseen evil force.

Director Dario Argento has made a true masterpiece of horror. Its short on plot but the visuals and music more than make up for any of its drawbacks. The acting is good--especially by Joan Bennett (obviously enjoying herself) and Alida Valli who just LOOKS scary...especially those teeth of hers. Harper is also very good considering she was acting opposite people who didn't speak English! The poor dubbing is a little distracting but this is still a horror masterpiece. A must-see. TRY to see it in a theatre.
60 out of 95 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
"Bad luck isn't brought by broken mirrors, but by broken minds"
Chris Gottschalk7 July 2008
"Suzy Banyon decided to perfect her ballet studies in the most famous school of dance in Europe. She chose the celebrated academy of Freeborge. One day, at nine in the morning, she left Kennedy airport, New York, and arrived in Germany at 10:40 p.m. local time." Those are the opening lines of Suspiria, as spoken by the narrator. Those lines are the beginning of a must see experience for all horror fans... period.

Dario Argento has to be one of the most talented directors in Italian film history. He was influenced by some of the greatest directors in cinema including Alfred Hitchcock. Dario Argento did it all with Suspria. Suspria breaks all the barriers. Not only is it completely nightmarish and bazaar, but it uses different colors of light in a brilliant, chilling way. Suspiria has some of the most memorable scenes in history, whether it be the first shocking murder, the dog biting the man's neck, or the very good ending which will have your eyes glued to the screen.

One of the most nightmarish aspects of Suspiria is the over-the-top creepy music that it offers. When "Goblin" performs music for a movie, that should be instant indication that the movie will be very tense experience. The tension and suspense in Suspiria is built up by the music.

Gore hounds will not be disappointed by Suspiria. Keep in mind, I said "won't be disappointed" not "be impressed". Suspiria has enough gore to be realalistic, but not enough to impress. However, people who watch Suspiria shouldn't watch it for the gore, they should watch it for the haunting atmosphere and tension.

Suspiria was shot in Italy, therefore, if you are watching the movie in an English language you will find that it is dubbed. This may very well be the only reason I found the dialoge in Suspiria to be fairly average. The dubbed audio didn't fit very well, but it isn't beyond terrible.

The only con of Suspiria is the fact that it seems to be dragged out. However, this hardly hurts the film in anyway, and is almost unnoticeable to first time viewers. The first time I viewed Suspiria will be a experience I will not forget.

I highly recommend Suspiria to every euro-horror fan out there. It is very nightmarish, creepy, suspenseful, nightmarish, terrifying... Did I mention nightmarish?

For weekly reviews of horror movies, check out my youtube channel: horrorreviews123
25 out of 38 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Argento at his best!
JeffG.5 November 1999
This movie is generally regarded as Dario Argento's best work and it's not hard to see why. Argento's direction adds a lot of atmosphere to the movie, particularly in the way he uses lights and color. There's a genuinely creepy mood through the whole film that doesn't let up. Special mention should be given to the excellent score by Goblin, which really adds a lot to the film and helps set the mood in all the right places. "Suspiria" definitely earns its place as one the finest horror movies ever.
46 out of 77 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
The Masterpiece of Dario Argento
Claudio Carvalho9 April 2005
In a stormy night, the American dancer Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper) arrives in Freiburg coming from New York to join a famous and expensive ballet school for a three-year training. On the next morning, she is informed by the direction of the school that a student she met leaving the place on the previous night was violently murdered and the police is investigating the crime. She becomes friend of another student, Sara (Stefania Casinia), and she realizes that the house is indeed a coven of evil and destructive witches led by the powerful Helena Markus, the Black Queen, who has a tremendous talent for doing evil.

It took me twenty-eight years to have the chance for watching "Suspiria". This masterpiece of Dario Argento has never been released on VHS in Brazil, and only a couple of months ago a new Brazilian distributor released this magnificent double DVD, recorded on DTS and having lots of extras, including a documentary about Dario Argento. "Suspiria" is outstanding, and has exceeded my best expectations: the story is excellent, its atmosphere recalls a nightmare, with the amazing use of strong bright colors and the soundtrack from the Italian band Goblin is very scary. The cult actress Jessica Harper has another great performance and her character Suzy seems to be trapped in a nightmare. I certainly include "Suspiria" among my favorite horror movies and I only regret the time I have missed without having the chance of watching this stunning work of one of my favorite directors. My vote is ten.

Title (Brazil): "Suspiria"

Note: On 08 July 2013, I saw this movie again.

On 02 December 2016, I saw this film again.
62 out of 107 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
If you like horror movies with either intense psychological or gory scares, avoid this movie
Don C.9 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I forced myself to finish this movie because most of the reviews on this site were very positive, but the stupidity of the script, the bad acting, and the slowness of the plot made it almost unbearable.

If you like horror movies with either intense psychological or gory scares (e.g. The Others, The Shinning, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Evil Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Hostel, Saw), I wouldn't recommend this movie.

My only positive comments are the aesthetically pleasing settings and the main musical theme, which is not bad for a 1970s movie (although it's heavily overused to the point of becoming an annoyance).

In my opinion this movie has almost no entertainment value and is a waste of time. I was compelled to write this review, since most of the other reviews are positive. Hopefully, some people with tastes similar to mine will save some time and money by avoiding this overrated flick.
49 out of 83 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
loading
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews