Move over, Anastasia Steele
Most of us are used to seeing Dakota Johnson wide-eyed and naïve. Sure, she played virgin-turned-willing-submissive in the Fifty Shades series, as well as eager-out-of-college-youth-turned-single-and-mingling-woman in How To Be Single, but she’s still held a certain composure that screamed a little…vanilla.
Well, not anymore. Dakota Johnson is creepy yet completely mesmerizing in her new film, Suspiria.
Directed by Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name), Suspiria is a new version of Dario Argento’s 1977 film of the same name. It follows Susie Bannion (Johnson), a brilliantly talented dancer who comes from a deeply religious family. She makes her way to 1977 Berlin to audition for an internationally renowned female dance company lead by Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton).
During Susie’s audition, she improvises by snapping her head back and forth and thrusting her limbs in various directions. It’s all very exorcism-like, but it impresses the Madame and the rest of the company officials. Soon, Susie is being offered a position as well as the chance to stay in the rent-free girls’ room as a space frees up due to Patricia’s (Chloë Grace Moretz) maddening departure.
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The other characters shine in the film, yes, but seeing Dakota Johnson with unsure fire and unexplained desire is something else. It is hypnotic, helped only by the dancing that eerily ties Suspiria together. When she embodies the school’s foundation, everyone else can’t help but follow. As Susie contorts, so do the other dancers. They hit mirrors, just in uncomfortable positions and have their limbs bend in unhuman angles—but you can’t keep your eyes away. It’s sexual, yet disturbing.
While dance steps light the screen and dreams of witchcraft give you glimpses of a dark past, Suspiria presents the good and the bad in human nature in ways that might leave you confused. Do you partake in the ritual and get drunk on its intoxicating and inviting spell? What do you do/think/feel when you’re giving a second or two to find some clarity?
As a film in its entirety, Suspiria is a can’t miss in the horror genre. With it, Guadagnino shows us exactly what he is capable of: a thrilling work of art.
Suspiria hits theaters in November.
Art Alexandra Lara