Suspiria Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

What happened at the end of the thriller Suspiria (2018)?

The meaning of the film, the plot, the explanation of the ending, the scene after the credits, similar films.

Country: Italy, USA

Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Thriller, Drama, Detective

Year of production: 2018

Directed by: Luca Guadagnino

Actors: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth

tagline: “The dance will take your soul”

Awards and Nominations: This film received the Soundtrack Stars Award at the 2018 Venice Film Festival.

Suspiria – a cover of the film of the same name, filmed in 1977, and belongs to the intellectual horror – more precisely, to the original Italian giallo genre.

The meaning of the film “Suspiria” is that there is a real absolute evil in the world. It has always surrounded us and will always surround us.

What is the movie about

Brief description of the content of the film “Suspiriya”. Divided Berlin, 1977 Susie Bannion is a young talented ballerina. In the midst of the German autumn, the girl comes to Berlin – she wants to hone her craft at the famous ballet school “Tanz”.

Dakota JohnsonThe role of Susie Bannion was played by Dakota Johnson. Frame from the film.

Her arrival coincides with the sudden and very strange disappearance of another girl, Patricia Hingle. The last person to see Patricia is Joseph Klemperer, an elderly psychiatrist. It so happened that he was the only person to whom the girl told that all the teachers of “Tanz” are terrible witches. Also, the surprised doctor heard from her a strange and terrible theory about the “Three Mothers” – the Mother of Darkness, Tears and Sighs (aka Suspiria).

New Susie soon meets a girl named Sarah and she becomes her friend. After some time, the main choreographer, Madame Blanc, draws the attention of a talented student who performed a rather complicated dance in the lesson.

One day there is a scandal at the rehearsal. Prima ballerina Olga openly blames the teachers for Patricia’s disappearance, calls them witches and announces that she is leaving the school. Trying to leave the building, the girl gets into a mirrored room, which turns out to be a trap. At this moment, Susie, who was offered to replace Olga, sings her part. Somehow, all her movements are transmitted to Olga, locked in a mirrored room, and the girl receives terrible injuries that are incompatible with life.

A little later, the choreographers come to the mirror room and find Olga lying motionless. Piercing her body with hooks, they carry him to another room.

And then it turns out that the Sabbath is coming, which must be led. The respected but rapidly decrepit witch Elena (Mother) Marcos, the founder of the school, should become the leader. They need Susie in order to move the consciousness of the old woman into her body. Upon learning of this, Miss Griffith, the youngest of the teachers, is horrified and decides to commit suicide.

Tilda SwintonTilda Swinton played the role of Elena Markos. Frame from the film.

The premiere of the ballet “Volk” is approaching at school and Madame Blanc is paying more and more attention to the new prima. Dr. Klemperer, meanwhile, decides to warn the girls of the danger that threatens them. To do this, he invites his friend Susie, Sarah, and shows her a diary compiled on the basis of Patricia’s words. His words seem completely wild to the girl, and she does not attach any meaning to them. However, they do not give her rest. Back at the school, Sarah carefully explores the rooms and finds the witches’ “inner shrine” in which they perform their rituals.

Finding Sarah in their “shrine”, the witches create several huge holes in the floor. Falling into one of them, the girl breaks her leg. However, this does not prevent her from going upstairs and taking part in the production. It seems that only Dr. Klemperer notices that the ballerina seems to be in a trance. Looking closely at her and Susie, he notices with horror that the girls seem to have “changed” the color of their eyes. At the very end of the performance, the new prima unexpectedly improvises. Sarah makes a jump, but lands poorly on her injured leg. Outraged, Madame Blanc blames her favorite for this.

When the play ends, Dr. Klemperer drives to his home in East Germany. There he meets his wife, who, as he thought, went missing during the war. His wife tells him that she escaped the Nazis in England.

Accompanied by his wife, Dr. Klemperer crosses the border between East and West Berlin. But he soon realizes that he had a phantom with him. Once at the walls of the ballet school, he is finally convinced that it was a witch’s obsession.

Meanwhile, the choreographers are preparing for the Sabbath. Putting Susie into a trance, they force her to descend into the “shrine”. A ritual begins, in which the witches themselves and hypnotized ballerinas participate, including Olga, who somehow survived. Dr. Klemperer lies immobilized on the floor, watching the bloody ritual in horror…

Ending explanation

Closer to the finale, a terrible creature suddenly appears in the “shrine”, personifying death. To the amazement of the witches, he was summoned by Susie, who is actually the Mother of Sighs. The demonic entity cracks down on the terrible Elena Markos and other witches who voted for her. Susie gives the unfortunate girls a painless death.

After all, Dr. Klemperer leaves the ballet school. Susie finds him and tells him the truth about his wife – she died in a concentration camp. This brings him incredible agony and, seeing this, the Mother of Sighs erases his memory.

The explanation for the ending is pretty simple. In their analysis of the picture, the audience caught its hidden meaning: Luca Guadagnino’s tape tells about women and their natural strength – that they embody the true theme of all nature.

The Mother of Sighs spares Klemperer because he was a true man – loving, noble, merciful and honest. She punishes witches for their evil and treachery.

The meaning of the ending of the film “Suspiria” is that a powerful ancient force, which, in fact, is neither good nor evil, punished the evil that forgot about the code of honor. The Mother of Sighs prevented the witches by becoming the new-old leader – the truth without evil and good.

Mia GothMia Goth played the role of Sarah. Frame from the film.

Scene after credits

This scene was not in the script. In the process of filming, Luca Guadagnino suddenly realized that he would like to have post-titles – a riddle that has no solution and at the same time involves several interpretations.

According to one of them, in this way the director gives a hint of a sequel (the original had two sequels – “Inferno” and “Mother of Tears”). Guadagnino himself does not deny that such an idea occurred to him. However, the post-credits scene, according to him, does not mean that. He said in an interview that the Mother of Sighs clearly sees something behind the camera. Perhaps she is looking at us. However, this is not accurate either. To understand the meaning of this strange mise-en-scene, one should understand what the essence of the film “Suspiria” is.

The meaning of the film

The tape by Luca Guadagnino bears little resemblance to the original source, the bright and psychedelic “Suspiria” by Dario Argento (which is why he constantly says in interviews that his film is not a remake, but a cover). However, like his predecessor, Guadagnino chose to address the central concept of the Three Mothers. This concept first appeared in a very specific work by the British essayist Thomas de Quincey, which he called “Suspiria de Profundis”. He invented three witches – Mother Suspiriorum, Mother Tenebrarum and Mother Lacrimorum – the metaphorical essence of any woman. According to de Quincey, each of them lives in some big city in Europe and does what brings people suffering. This concept remained in the painting by Luca Guadagnino.

Angela WinklerAngela Winkler as Miss Tanner. Frame from the film.

At the center of it all is Elena Markos’ witches’ coven, which is fronted by a dance school. The old witch loses her strength and is looking for a young, strong woman with whom she could switch bodies and thus prolong her life.

The exhausting dance “Volk” is a kind of ritual. He must prepare the chosen one – both physically and spiritually. In addition, this number can only be performed if all the dancers are in their places. That is why the witches heal Sarah’s broken leg with magic – thanks to this, the unfortunate girl dances to the last.

At the same time, some members of the coven see how weak the ancient Helena Markos is and come to the conclusion that they need a new leader. Madame Blanc puts forward her candidacy, but most of the witches reject her. During the final ritual, the spirit of Elena Markos will be transferred into the body of a young and healthy Susie Bannion.

Madame Blanc tries to dissuade the girl who is ready for this, but the old woman Marcos perceives this as an encroachment on her power and mortally wounds her. At this point, the mythology changes. Young Susie reveals that she, and not Elena Marcos, is the Mother Suspiriorum (Sighs). And then she administers her terrible justice …

wanted girlsFrame from the film.

The last episode of the picture, which shows an elderly doctor, seems interesting. The symbol is clearly visible there – a drawn heart with the initials of him and his wife – “A” and “J”. Mother Suspiriorum, who came to him, proves that after death only memories remain from people, a kind of mandorola “circle of glory” of their warm and happy life.

Why was the doctor’s line in this picture at all? This is a rather complex question, with several interpretations. According to one of them, the essence of the three Mothers (tears, sighs and darkness) are called upon to mourn some grief. The greatest grief of humanity, according to many, is the Holocaust. Probably, the line of an elderly psychiatrist was created in order to reflect on the tragic events.

Returning to the scene after the credits. There is a version that Susie’s peculiar soaring by hand is a mysterious cryptogram. Others believe that in this way the Mother of Sighs simply erases the memories of another witness who was close to the truth about her existence.

Who is Mother Suspiriorum? According to the film’s mythology, she is an ancient postulated entity that she says feeds on fear and shame. In the course of the picture, she is reborn in a bodily vessel, retaining her youth and beauty.

Susie’s arrival represents the coming of a new era and the fall of the old, the end of old traditions and the beginning of new ones. Accordingly, “Suspiria” tells how the terrible past turns into a bright future. And it doesn’t matter if Mother Suspiriorum is good or bad – after all, history is still written by the winners … Or does it? Luca Guadagnino suggests thinking about this.

Dakota JohnsonFrame from the film.

Similar films

Here are a few films similar in meaning to Suspiria:

  • “Neon Demon” (USA, Belgium, Denmark, France, 2016). Young Jessie dreams of becoming a supermodel and comes to conquer Los Angeles. There she meets not only with various dangers, but also with her own demons.
  • “Reincarnation” (USA, 2018). After the death of her mother, Annie learns a dark secret about the family and about the house that served as their “family nest” for many years.
  • “Black Swan” (USA, 2010). A talented ballerina is preparing to perform in a party that promises her the glory of a prima donna. But not everything is so simple.
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