Peter Strickland's retro thriller about consumerism, dating and ennui is drenched in genre excess
IN FABRIC (Peter Strickland). 113 minutes. Opens Friday (December 6). See listing. Rating: NNNN
In Fabric is possibly the only film in cinema history to ever feature a credit for “mannequin pubic hair.” But that detail, like everything in Strickland’s retro thriller about a cursed red dress that causes its wearer to die is stylish, campy fun.
When a recently separated middle-aged woman (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) buys a dress during a department store sale, it gives her a rash, starts floating around restlessly at night and reacts badly to being washed. Strickland (Berberian Sound Studio, The Duke Of Burgundy) drenches his film in genre excess – saturated colours, harpsichord-creepy score – while making droll statements about consumerism, dating and even workplace ennui.
The narrative swerve after the first hour takes some getting used to, but the scenes with Fatma Mohamed as a sinister sales matron who spouts bizarre maxims and has an intriguing nightly ritual make you forgive any shortcomings.