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What a weird and wild movie to get (here in Canada, anyway) quite a wide release.
Keeps the premise intact and lifts a couple small moments from the original but, for the most part, goes aggressively in its own direction. For example: how to remake a movie famous for it's crazy colourful design and visuals? Make the whole thing drab and colourless. An odd choice, but I think it sort of worked.
The good: there is some genuinely terrific horror content here, though you gotta note off the top that the movie isn't particularly scary. Some great stylistic moments and doesn't hold back on the gruesomeness. Plus, it's just like nothing else, including its source material -- a valiantly original approach to remaking a stone-cold classic.
The bad: two and a half hours is too long for a premise this inherently silly -- even if the movie treats it pretty seriously -- and you really start to feel that in the back half.
The ugly: Chloe Moretz is not a very good actor, and when the movie starts with her doing an extended multi-language dialogue scene, that shows. Dakota Johnson is also not a very good actor, and especially when she gets an all-important monologue at the end of the film (again, 2 hours 20 mins in!), it really shows. That said, the main part frequently plays to Johnson's strength, which is her physicality and movement.
In the end, it's far too arthouse to not disappoint a good segment of the audience, but I think it's bold and weird and extreme enough to be worth a try in theatres for anyone who thinks they might enjoy it.
I thought I'd love this movie but I really didn't end up caring for it too much. Luca Guadagnino is a fantastic director, and there's quite a few moments in the film that I adored. However, you really feel the run time of this movie. The whole old man subplot felt incredibly unnecessary and really dragged the film down, in my opinion.
I think there's parts of a great movie in there, but as a whole it just grew tedious at points.
Caught this last night. Talk about a mixed bag. Soaring highs and plunging, ever-plunging lows. Genuinely one of the strangest films I've ever seen. Unfortunately, I'm inclined to write it off as a failure given the sheer inconsistency, and its inability to live up to its best moments is downright depressing.
The good: This is so far-removed from the 1977 film it feels like an original itself. The aesthetic is all whole cloth, and the scale is massive. There simply wasn't this much to mine from the original, so clearly this was a true reimagining. I think that was the way to go remaking such a distinct and iconic film. As flawed as it is, I can't help but admire the undertaking here. This was an audacious effort the likes of which the horror genre needs to see more of.
Many of the horror set pieces here are some of the most spectacular I've ever seen. Creepy, grotesque, disturbing, strange, esoteric, and unique -- gold standard stuff. I was surprised at the amount of proper gore and horror iconography on display, especially with the clear arthouse sensibilities going into it. The production design was also very distinct and eye-catching, even with the horror context removed. Just a really thoughtful, detail-oriented visual feast all across the board yet still somewhat subdued and methodical, distancing itself from the wonderful garishness of the original without seeming like it's trying to and standing out on its own.
The bad: The original plot is so straightforward and generally adhered to in the remake. As such, I don't know how they could've made it feel so obscure. If I hadn't seen the original so many times, I don't think I'd have any idea what was going on most of the time. The finale and two of the major subplots, I legit did not know what was going on. The dialogue doesn't help matters. Not poorly written, per se, but often cryptic and inane.
These issues are compounded by the fact that this film is just TOO. LONG. I can't believe they were able to squeeze this much out of the original plot. There's also a ton of padding and subplots that go nowhere. There were a lot of what I assume were supposed to be political overtones, the purpose of which are totally lost on me. I can't tell if it's all supposed to be connected to the central coven plot in some sort of thematic way or if it's simply there to give a sense of place. The latter is certainly welcome and appreciated, but as executed it feels excessive.
Also wasn't a fan of some of the filmmaking choices. The editing in particular struck me as frantic and choppy. Occasionally, it was used for some interesting sequences, such as the nightmares or the voting scene/restaging in the finale, but I often found it distracting. It's a strange aesthetic choice for a film that's ostensibly supposed to be glacial and atmospheric.
The okay: Acting wasn't bad. Dakota Johnson is kinda bland, but the film feels more grounded with her at the center, which seems necessary. I also agree with the OP that her physicality is very effective and a key component. Tilda Swinton is always in top form, although I'm not sure why they had her play four roles. I don't even know who one of the characters (the bookish witch with the glasses) was supposed to be. I don't object to her playing the psychiatrist but gotta admit that her voice was distracting. Fun, memorable group of women they got to play the coven, and the other girls were serviceable. Chloe Moretz definitely isn't impressive, but she's not around for long.
Verdict: Kind of a mess/mindfuck. I adored many an individual moment but not necessarily any of the through lines. I don't think I outright hated any aspects of it, but many were certainly grating. I wonder if they wouldn't have been easier to bare in a shorter form; that extra hour is brutal. I'm at a total loss atm.
I guess I should be glad that this wasn't your typical Hollywood remake trainwreck. That honestly seems like the natural order of things. This is a real film made with purpose and conviction. Definitely what the original deserved, for better or worse.
I watched the movie with my wife just last night and we both enjoyed it immensely. I actually didn't feel the running time at all, although I did raise my eyebrows when I saw "152 minutes" on the back cover. That said, I feel that I would feel the movie's run-time if were to I re-watch it, especially with the old man's subplot (which I did think was effective; I just don't know if it would hold up twice).
I also thought it was unnecessary to have Tilda Swinton play not one, not two, but three roles (one of them male) for no apparent narrative purpose whatsoever. They seemed to have her do it simply to gratuitously show off her acting prowess where that amount of time and effort could've gone to other things in the film.
Dakota Johnson was the typical demure, soft-spoken milquetoast that she always is, but in this case it kind of fit, and she portrayed the physical aspect of the role pretty well.
I liked that the movie was fairly faithful to the original (at least in spirit) without actually emulating it or seeking to copy it. In fact, it's considerably more ambitious than the original, but then again someone's already mentioned how the overall premise sort of betrays that ambition at times. I guess if you're going to make a remake no matter what, it better be more like this one and less like Psycho '98.
As far as horror content goes, it's sandwiched between a gloom-and-doom drama for most of the run-time, but when it wants to get nasty, it's right up there with the greats as far as I'm concerned.
This is all to say nothing of the cinematography, effects, and set design, all of which are grade-A throughout.
This is now streaming on Amazon Prime, so I sat down yesterday, looking very forward.
Wow, definitely not for the is kid. I c an easily say I hated it. Extremely dull and hard to follow. Ploddingly long and padded. Excessive for the sake of being excessive.
To be honest, I rarely had much of a clue what was even going on or why. This "exclusive dance company" is a firckin' joke! What's so exclusive? They dance for a handful of peeps and it's downright awful!
The end is just bizarre, grotesque, and so over the top. I guess you could even call it shocking, but not in a good way.
For me a complete waste of time.
Grade - D-
To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.