Susie, an American dancer, gets accepted to a prestigious dance academy in Germany, where her dance director (Tilda Swinton) insists she learn French, for some reason. Meanwhile, a curious therapist (also played by Tilda Swinton) sets out on an investigation into the academy after one of the students, his patient, goes missing. After two and a half hours of pretentious dialogue, confusing imagery, and long, drawn out scenes that seem compulsory in all of these “art-house” horrors, we discover the source of evil driving the dance academy is none another than a big fat demon (Tilda Swinton in a fat suit).
Why is Tilda Swinton playing so many characters? My first thought when I saw the male therapist was, there had to be some point that an obvious woman in prosthetic mask was playing this guy. Maybe she would reveal herself to be the dance director in disguise as a way to keep tabs on people leaking information about the academy. That would at least be a reasonable, albeit ridiculous plot, but instead there is no explanation offered for this odd decision. This movie is so up its own ass that they had to shove Tilda Swinton into 3 roles for no reason. Chloe Grace Moretz is in the movie for all of five minutes but by all means give Tilda Swinton 3 whole characters.
The nightmare sequences are pretty good and scary, but there is so much fluff in between the scary scenes that I almost wouldn’t call this a horror movie. This movie definitely could have been edited down to two hours or even ninety minutes had they cut the entire storyline surrounding the therapist and his dead wife. I am aware that the witches later use his dead wife to lure him to the academy but this could have been just as easily accomplished without giving us so much history. It feels like they are combining two movies into one extremely long horror drama. This isn’t Avengers: Infinity War; it’s a horror movie. We don’t need all of the exposition.
Edited down to a reasonable runtime, I do think this could have been a pretty decent horror movie. There are several scenes that are done well and the nightmare sequences are very well done, and the final scene with fat Tilda Swinton is just great. Unfortunately, they felt like they had to make this into another self-indulgent “art” film, so the tension in each scary scene quickly fades. If someone wanted to make a fan-edit of this movie and leave out all of the backstory with the therapist’s wife and the flashbacks of Susie’s mother and keep the main storyline, I would love to see that.
This movie is…
Cheers and goodnight.