A24 has been releasing some of the most unique and visually stunning films for years now, especially in the horror genre. Their latest offering, “In Fabric” is no slouch. Crafted by Writer/Director Peter Strickland, “In Fabric” is dripping with style, even if it’s a bit thin in the story department.
The movie plays out as more of an anthology than a single narrative, as we watch the cursed “artery-red” dress travel between owners, destroying their otherwise mundane lives. The first is Sheila (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), a recent divorcee who is hoping to kickstart her love life. While visiting the Dentley & Soper’s department store in search of something new, she is implored by the saleswoman to try on the vibrant dress, promising that she’ll get the attention she desires. Unfortunately, this apparel has a devilish mind of its own.
The dress, sacrilegious store, and devout saleswomen are all fascinating in their own rights but exist without a drop of explanation. For some, this lack of reason is a rift that will rob the viewer of their entertainment. For others, this massive ambiguity will allow them to assign their own backstories and metaphors. Is it a commentary on the road to hell paved by mob-like consumerism? Does it have something to say about the dangers of vanity? Is the ability to hypnotize others with the excruciating details of the job at which you excel a gift or a curse? Does the bleeding mannequin hint towards Freud’s theories on male fetishism and women’s drive to accommodate it? Or is it all a humorous love-letter to the pretentious and absurd Italian horror films of the ’70s and ’80s?
Any or all of those theories could be accurate, but there is one constant. This is a very well made, and very entertaining horror flick. It may not make sense, but the confusion is quite entertaining.