What Not to Watch: Suspiria
We are not writing a review on Suspiria but we want to give parents a clear warning about this film. It has a Restricted rating “for disturbing content involving ritualistic violence, bloody images and graphic nudity, and for some language including sexual references.” This is not an exaggeration, and parents should be aware that this might actually understate this movie’s horrific content issues.
Set in a German dance school that is secretly a witches’ coven, Suspiria takes advantage of those lovely, lithe bodies and proceeds to use them in highly ritualistic, sexual and violent contexts. The sexual scenes and images are particularly disturbing. Nude bodies are seen frequently, with full front and back nudity from characters of both sexes and detailed shots of genitalia. The nudity sometimes occurs in situations that are painful and/or demeaning. Characters are also naked in group settings, including a large group of naked women who dance together in a dungeon.
The violence is also extreme, with brutal, painful deaths shown in gory detail. In addition, one scene features a witch ripping her own chest open and another features a woman disemboweling another female. There is a bloody suicide shown in detail. Several scenes show various bodily fluids, almost always in gruesome contexts, and severed body parts. It is difficult to overstate the extent to which this movie dwells on macabre, morbid, and disturbing violent imagery.
After these extreme scenes, the profanity feels almost tame, despite the fact that there are four sexual expletives in this film. Surprisingly, substance use seems almost normal with some social drinking and occasional smoking.
Even Suspiria’s all star cast can’t save it. Fortunately, its ratings should prevent teens from viewing this picture – provided parents or other adults do not accompany them to the movie. If your teen wants you to bring them to Suspiria, saying no is a fight worth having.