Luca Gudagnino’s may not be the director you would have expected to direct the remake of the 1977 campy horror flick Suspiria. The Oscar-nominated director known for his atmospheric indie dramas (including last year’s Call Me By Your Name) tackles the horror genre resulting in a messy, nasty, and beautiful movie. The remake is more of a bleak melodrama than its technicolor gore-fest predecessor. While both movies are vastly different, they both ravish in the absurd story. It’s a smorgasbord of horror and passion that is not afraid to be unpleasant even if it will turn some audience members off.

Suspiria stars an ensemble of young actresses with Dakota Johnson at the helm as a naïve but talented ballerina named Susie. Susie moves from Ohio to Berlin, being accepted into the prestigious Markos Dance Academy. There she meets her cagey colleagues and even more mysterious teachers- particularly the sharp Madam Blanc played by Tilda Swinton.

As each day progresses, Susie encounters oddities including sinister nightmares and monstrous sounds that can’t be explained. She is both weakened and strengthened at the Academy as her and the other dancers practice intensely for what appears to be a supernatural ritual. As the mysterious events continue, an elderly psychiatrist (also played by Tilda Swinton in gender-bending makeup) is on the trail of revealing the dark witchy underlining of the Academy.

Gudagnino’s Suspiria is a grisly fever dream of a movie. He mixes Cronenberg’s body horror with Kubrick’s cold and ambiguous settings. While it’s a fascinating watch, Suspiria clocks in at two and a half hours and the subject matter doesn’t necessarily warrant a need for the excessive length. The slow burn may test the patience of any audience member but Gudagnino has such remarkable talent of keeping the intensity building. It’s often messy and the tonal shifts can be distracting but it’s definitely a unique experience. If anything, the movie shows that Dakota Johnson has talents beyond the Fifty Shades of Grey ridicule. She is a standout giving an engaging yet reserved performance. She even does her own dancing! Of course, Tilda Swinton steals the movie chewing up the scenery in her villainous role.

While the movie feels authentic, there are some noteworthy practical effects. We see grandeur sets, swooping camera work, and minimalist yet decorative costumes. But the most impressive achievements are the comprehensive make-up and Thom Yorke’s unnerving score. The make-up department managed an incredible feat by not only creating disturbing creature effects but also disguising Tilda Swinton as an old man in a large supporting role. As for the score, Radiohead’s frontman Thom Yorke crafted a fantastical and unsettling composition that is both modern and classical which gives the movie an extra layer of quirk.

The movie is an odd duck and it doesn’t care if you think it’s weird. It’s never apologetic which is what makes it so daring. It can get rather goofy, pinballing from terror to bizarre. It’s a movie about witches in 1977 during the revolutionary German Autumn- yes, it’s weird. It shines most during its well-choreographed horror sequences- the final act, in particular, is one of the bloodiest and inexplicable scenes you will see all year.

Suspiria will be polarizing, plain and simple. Some people will rave about it while others will think it’s one of the worst movies of the year. It’s a hallucinogenic trip that displays some quality craftsmanship worth a visit from curious eyes.