Peter Strickland’s exuberantly designed costume horror has dastardly ways to replenish its crimson accents; its critique of consumerist weakness is ruthless going on sadistic.
Every single image on screen in In Fabric, the latest offering from genre director Peter Strickland, is stylised within an inch of its life. 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.
Strickland owes an obvious debt to the Italian giallo films of the 70s and the chamber dramas of Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Occasional interstitial sequences of collage-like still photographs are artful enough to stand on their own, and every element of the department store – its commercial, its catalogue, the font of its logo – makes us feel we’ve gone back in time. It’s a wonder we don’t immediately see a shopper ask what the hell is going on.
Abbey Bender, Sight & Sound