This remake of the 1977 Dario Argento classic has been much anticipated and will soon be on general release.
There’s been anxiety too because the original is so good but this new version does enough differently to deserve recognition in its own right.
The basic plot is the same: a young American girl arrives at a dance school (this time in 70s Berlin) and creepy things start happening. Whereas the original left it pretty much at that, this new one introduces subplots, a political background, and visuals as muted as Argento’s were outlandish.
As such it very quickly begins to feel fresh, intriguing and engrossing. But this thoughtful and deliberate approach leads to the main problem: it’s slow and hellishly long. Two and a half hours is far too long for a horror film because it’s so hard to maintain an atmosphere of fear and dread if the film has draggy sections, which it does.
To compound this problem, the muted visuals mean the film lacks vibrancy and style and doesn’t engage the eye. That’s not to say there aren’t some good set pieces because there are several – the dances are amazing and the full-on horror sequences are some of the best you’ll see, including another entry in the award for Best Compound Fracture Scene.
Tilda Swinton is great in a role she was born to play and Thom Yorke’s soundtrack is wonderfully original.
But overall, in seeking to broaden out the story, and to differentiate itself from the 1977 film, it misses a lot of what made that film so special and it just doesn’t hit you in the gut as it should.
It’s still well worth seeing but has to be approached on its own terms.