Director and star of new Suspiria explain it's not a remake, exactly

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Mar 26, 2021, 3:00 PM EDT (Updated)

How do you remake one of the most unique and stylized horror films of all time? You don't. Not exactly, anyway. That's the word from Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino and acclaimed actress Tilda Swinton, who are respectively directing and starring in a new version of Dario Argento's 1977 classic Suspiria.

After a long period of development under a different director (David Gordon Green), the movie finally went into production in October 2016 with Guadagnino behind the camera and Swinton appearing alongside Dakota Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Mia Goth, and Jessica Harper, who starred in the original.

With no images or trailer yet available from the film, the question remains: How exactly will this Suspiria be the same as or different from Argento’s masterpiece? The original film — a surreal, macabre tale of supernatural happenings at a sinister European dance academy — has a look, sound, and atmosphere all its own (not to mention one of the greatest musical scores in all of horror cinema), which is why the idea of a remake is on one hand preposterous.

Swinton told Allocine, however (via Film School Rejects), that this version is going to be "completely different" from the original, which is why she signed on to begin with:

"It’s impossible to remake (Dario Argento’s) film...It’s inspired by the same story, but it goes in different directions, it explores other reasons. It’s semantics, of course, but I think people really have to understand that this is not a remake, because the word 'remake' gives the impression that we want to erase the original, and the opposite is what we try to do."

Guadagnino himself has spoken for the first time about the project, telling Criterion (via Slashfilm) that he's still got three months of work left on the film and that his take on the material is more of a personal response to the original movie and the impact it had on him:

"It’s a very special film, and I’m proud of it. I wonder all the time how people will react to it, being that it is based on a masterpiece. I often find myself in the position of saying 'Oh, it’s ridiculous!' when I hear stories that they want to remake a movie like 8½, so I don’t know if I’m going to be served the same dish. But I can say that my Suspiria is a very personal film; it’s like oxygen to me. When I saw the original movie 32 years ago, the emotion I felt was so strong, so mind-blowing, and so important to my upbringing. I wanted to investigate the experience I had watching that film.”

We're of the opinion that if Suspiria is going to be remade, Guadagnino is actually a fantastic choice to do it. His latest movies, A Bigger Splash and the upcoming (and quite brilliant) Call Me By Your Name are organic, intimate and textured, reveling in nature, colors, sunlight, flesh, and a distinctly European sensibility. It will be interesting to see how the director applies all that to a horror film, especially one as specific as this.

Suspiria has yet to confirm a release date, but look for it to arrive in 2018. And keep an eye on this space for a trailer at some point too.