Review by Camden Ferrell
From writer and director Peter Strickland, In Fabric is an eccentric horror film about a cursed dress. The movie can often find itself operating in between frequent lulls, but it’s mostly overcome by its unique premise and style.
This movie follows a cursed dress that finds itself being passed from victim to victim. We get to see the machinations of the characters’ lives and witness how this one dress wreaks havoc on their existence. This is an absurd premise, but it is highly original. The film’s unique story helps distinguish it from other films in the genre.
Overall, the film feels rather lukewarm. The script isn’t weak at all, but there isn’t anything particularly astounding about it. It does a great job of developing its characters in subversive ways and giving the film an emotional center, but it often feels indulgent or muddled. Luckily, it has enough narrative tricks up its sleeve to make up for some of its shortcomings.
This film features many actors, but Oscar-nominee Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Secrets & Lies) stands out the most. Jean-Baptiste leads the first half of the film, which is also the film’s strongest half thanks to her. We get to see her look for love and deal with her son at home. This gives the film a more human backdrop for the calamity that follows, and it really allows the viewer to connect with her character.
Unfortunately, the rest of the cast is mostly forgettable. Leo Bill and Hayley Squires lead the slightly less affecting second half of the film. Their characters aren’t given especially great material, and they’re not developed as much as they could have been. It was a bit more difficult to connect to become invested in their characters and give the film stakes.
Despite dragging a little too often, this movie is full of twists and dark turns. This slow-burning film can often surprise you in its explosive moments. They generate tension and it’s executed in a manner that makes the dress genuinely unsettling. This is probably the film’s greatest virtue, but it didn’t always use this to its advantage throughout.
The film was also visually pleasing. The production design was great, and it had an eerie yet alluring aesthetic that made the film feel visually distinct. It has some really cool shots and other creepy visuals that work in the film’s favor. All of these components work together to create a memorable and chilling final sequence.
In Fabric is not for everyone, but it may be worth the watch for horror fans. It’s a creative and abnormal story about an evil dress that has enough thrills to make up for its somewhat weak pacing.
In Fabric is in select theaters December 6th and VOD December 10th.
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