Suspiria is a 2018 Italian American horror movie based on the 1977 film of the same name. Similar to the original, there is a lot to unpack from it’s ending and throughout this article I will be discussing the movie in full detail.
There will be heavy spoilers so it may be worth skipping this for now if you want to go into the film with fresh eyes.
With that out the way, I’m Deffinition and I ruin the movie so you don’t have to!
The story is told through six seperate acts.
The initial one, ‘1977’ follows Patricia, played by Chloe Grace Moretz, as she visits her psychiatrist to inform him that the prestigious dance school, The Markos Academy, that she studies at is run by a coven of witches. The psychiatrist, named Jozef Klemperer initially dismisses this as delusion but when the young girl goes missing, his suspicions arise.
It’s at this point that we are introduced to Susie, played by Dakota Johnson. Susie quickly catches the eye of Company Director, Madame Blanc and joins the academy. Strange Occurrences begin to happen such as a student named Olga becoming trapped in a room of mirrors after accusing Blanc of being a witch during a rehearsal.
Blanc resumed the rehearsal, but inflicted a power of Susie’s dance moves that had huge consequences. Susie performed an aggressive improvisational dance with her movements causing physical damage to Olga in the other room, leading to her death.
Susie quickly becomes the protege of Madame Blanc, the company’s director, and she appoints the new student to lead their production of Volk. This of course, arouses suspicion from the other dancers and Sara, who is also a student at the academy begins to investigate the Witches on a deeper level. She believes that Susie may be in collusion with them so sneaks off to into the catacombs of the school on the night of the performance. Down in the dark, she discovers the body of Patricia and is confronted by Matrons from the school. Sara breaks her leg trying to escape but makes it back in time to perform in the production of Volk.
Klemperer who is attending the showing notices that Sara and Susie’s eyes have both changed colour which confirms his suspicions that Patricia was telling the truth. This also highlights that Susie is indeed working with The Witches.
It’s here where Klemperer encounters his long thought dead wife. She informs him that during the Nazi Uprising of the Second World War, she faked her own death and fled to Zurich. The two walk and talk until Klemperer realises that he has been tricked and lead to The Markos Academy. One of the matrons has merely been posing as his wife and the Witches incapacitate and capture him. Leaving him in a chamber.
It’s at this point that Susie returns to the school and we get a full introduction to Mother Helena Markos. We learn that Susie has been chosen as a new vessel for Mother Markos who has outgrown her current form. Several dancers show up to perform a ritual but things go awry when Susie reveals her true plan. Susie is so skilled because she is actually Mother Suspiriorum, there to claim the academy and eradicate Mother Markos. She kills Markos and most of the other Matrons except Blanc, Blanc is discovered the next day Alive but heavily wounded.
During the enslaught by Mother Suspiriorum, it is revealed that three of the Matrons are infact, Sara, Patricia and Olga and each one of them pleads for death due to the control and enslavement that they have been placed in. Susie obliges them and begins a dance that grants her control of the academy. She spares Jozef and meets him in his office the next day where she confirms that his wife is in fact dead and was killed whilst at a concentration camp. Susie erases all of his memory and leaves, ending the film.
To me the biggest signifier behind the film’s meaning is it’s time setting. The movie is set amidst the cold war but still has a lot of call-backs to the one that preceded it. The most glaring of these are the metaphors for the holocaust. When viewed as correctly, the academy has a lot of similarities to concentration camps. They are overseen by cold and ruthless people and kill and enslave those who speak up or do not work to the satisfaction of the overseers. Susie is an outsider that comes in and liberates those within much in the same way that the allies did and her home of America could be seen as the biggest confirmation of this theory.
The Holocaust is something that should never be forgotten about and if we no longer remember the atrocities that happened there then we could be doomed to repeat them. There is a climate of racism that exists within modern culture that is currently at boiling point and we must look at examples such as the concentration camps as reminders of this. This is why Jozefs amnesia is so tragic. He, like many during the period, lost loved ones but has now been forced to forget the horrendous things that happened so he can no longer go forth and educate those on the witches, leaving the rest of the world blind to what could be happening.