A haunting ghost story set against the backdrop of a busy winter sales period in a department store and follows the life of a cursed dress as it passes from person to person, with devastating consequences.
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The film boasts superb performances, from Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Fatma Mohamed and musician Barry Adamson most especially, and, while hardly lacking in flights of disorientation, may be Strickland’s most accessible work.
Referencing softcore arthouse cinema and fashion catalogues as well as trashy television advertising, Strickland has the precision of Tom Ford and the melodrama of Dario Argento poised in every aspect of his mise-en-scene. Stylistically, the film is like a cut up and a collage, elegantly transitioning from photographic montage back to moving image with narrative ease.
Such stylisation may test some viewers’ patience, but there’s a level of brazen confidence here that’s to be applauded. The plot concerns a haunted dress and its disturbing effects as it passes among wearers. The idea is delightful in its simple potency, and the garment itself is gorgeous to behold – its deep red colour and draped silhouette are undeniably sensual.
Peter Strickland has tended to strike me as an artist operating without much in the way of rhyme or reason, which is not to say he's a stranger to ideas, but nothing he has made before has been nearly as ecstatically moronic as IN FABRIC. The whole thing, fair enough, speaks to a kind of macabre gluttony and watching it was increasingly unpleasant in a way similar to being force-fed well past the point of being full.
Heavily influenced by the original Suspiria, this b-movie loving horrorshow is a phantasmagoric fun house critique of consumerism that doesn't always make sense, and doesn't always need to. Great performances, cinematography and wonderful score, the parts that leave you bored or scratching your head are made up for by the sheer freaky absurdity that punctuates the entire film.
Marianne Jean-Baptiste is a legend, and Strickland’s film is so hypnotic the fact that you can’t always follow the logic of this killer dress just doesn’t matter. I felt the same way about Duke of Burgundy.
Peter Strickland's new film is as bonkers as one might expect. Inspired by a former department store in Reading it manages to make going to the sales the most eerie experience possible and unwrapping your purchase one of the most ill advised of activities. Described as Are You Being Served meets Suspiria you really don't want to know what lurks in the dumb waiter.
Peter Strickland delivers once again with an absolutely bizarre tale of a bewitched dress from a mysterious department store that wreaks havoc on those who have worn it. It's definitely my favourite cinematic critique on consumerism since George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead.
While not as completely head-to-toe brilliant as his last film The Duke of Burgundy, this is still an overall joy to watch.