It's difficult to get psyched up for the Suspiria remake, despite the fact that writer/director Luca Guadagnino keeps saying and doing all the right things leading up to it.
First off, the cast is incredible - Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Mia Goth are all signed on to flesh out the ballet academy/witch coven front. Radiohead's Thom Yorke handling the film's score (standing in for Goblin) is another inspired touch, as we know the sonics of the picture will be rather intense.
Now, Guadagnino is promising (while doing press for his outstanding Call Me By Your Name) that his Suspiria will be a "personal film", and admits that nobody is ever going to be able to replicate Dario Argento's iconic, eye-popping style. In an interview with Allocine, he says:
“It’s impossible to remake [Dario Argento’s] film. But if I accepted, it’s because it will be a completely different movie! 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's rejection of the "remake" label is intriguing. Is he just trying to avoid the negative connotations that come with the term? Or is this a genuinely new take on familiar material? He continues to fill in the blanks via an interview with Criterion:
“I have three months until I finish it. 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 thirty-two 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.”
There's a self-awareness to these remarks that's encouraging, and hearing the new Italian master admit to being somewhat intimidated by his own proposition introduces an element of reverence that will hopefully shine through in the film's finished form. While this writer will always be slightly skeptical of a Suspiria remake/reimagining/etc., at least it sounds like this project is in the hands of an artist who's genuinely trying to craft something unique, special, and totally his own.