★★ 1/2 out of ★★★★★
The horror-comedy (?) In Fabric unravels.
Written and Directed by Peter Strickland
In Fabric, the latest release by Duke of Burgundy and Berbarian Sound Studio creator Peter Strickland was written up in The Overlook Film Festival program as a “visionary comedy” so I went excitedly into this screening expecting a gorgeously made horror comedy. What I got was gorgeously made and lovely to look at, but it wasn’t horror or comedy.
Marianne Jean-Baptiste stars as Shelia, a recent divorcee who is about to reenter the dating scene. Hoping to wow her first date, Adonis (spoiler alert, he’s definitely not one), Shelia heads to a very posh and very weird department store, Dentley & Soper’s to shop the sales and finds a stunning artery red silky frock. The mysterious sales person Miss Luckmoore, portrayed by Fatma Mohamed, praises her choice of garment and promises her date will be amazed.
What the sales woman doesn’t say is that the dress is very possessive of it’s owner, can cause car crashes, washing machine explosions (everyone is putting this dress in the washing machine, which I really had to suspend my disbelief for) and may be seen floating in the air or crawling across the floor toward it’s chosen victim. We don’t know how or why this garment is cursed, nor do we know if all the items at the department store are also cursed, we only know that this is very silly and “caveat emptor”, buyer beware.
Shelia eventually donates the dress which is then picked up by thrift store shopper and washing machine repairman (convenient, right!), Reg played by Leo Bill, to be worn at his bachelor party (I guess that’s a thing in England). In true “travelling pants” fashion the dress fits him perfectly as it did Shelia and once he’s done with it he gives it to his fiance who is astounded that it also fits her. More washing machine antics ensue along with a dash of washing machine repair manual AMSR.
While this movie looks and sounds great- it is giallo color scheme eye candy punctuated by Miss Luckmore’s beautiful Slavic accent -it was way too silly (not funny) and pointless for me to enjoy. However, I seem to be in the very, very small minority so I probably didn’t “get it”. You don’t need to take my word for it – see In Fabric for yourself when A24 releases it later this year.