Cast: Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Hayley Squires, Leo Bill, Gwendoline Christie
Director: Peter Strickland
Well, In Fabric is proof that my theory about A24 is still very much holding up. In Fabric is a bizarre horror movie with a very niche audience, but those in that audience will realistically enjoy this movie. With A24, we tend to get more stylistic and smooth horror movies compared to many of the industry-standard nonsense other people put out, but the end result is something that may alienate general audiences. While some people may not enjoy the abstract symbolism and weirdness, In Fabric has more than enough merit as an homage movie that it can work past any of these difficulties and provides 118 minutes of solid entertainment.
The movie follows the journey of a haunted red dress. After the model who originally posed in the dress died, the dress is passed on to various other people who experience a series of supernatural issues after wearing the dress. Whether this dress is really haunted and how those who have worn it will survive their issues is the central premise of the majority of the movie. While some people may have a tough time wrapping their heads around everything going on, there’s very much a clear influence from some of the great horror movies of the past. Specifically, I recognize some of the speech patterns sound similar to that of those found in A Clockwork Orange and it matches the same sleek and sophisticated nature that both movies were looking to achieve. Outside of that reference, you call tell from the use of synth music and even by the looks of the poster that this movie was made to show respect to many of the great horror movies of the past. There definitely feels like a reference or two to some of the famous slasher movies like Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street, and even though this isn’t a slasher movie, the dress that’s at the forefront of this movie sure feels like it can compete with the toughest movie villains of all time. With all that in mind, what these movies all do better is they thoroughly explain everything that happens and give even the most ridiculous plots a semblance of realism. In Fabric gives this out to us in pieces, but does so in a way that’s weird and unsettling. Since this is a movie created around a predominantly supernatural phenomena, the plot needs airtight or you will lose less patient audience members. When you create an independent movie that’s more focused on getting the attention of specific groups, you can have a little bit of leeway since this won’t be seen by most people. With all that in mind though, In Fabric does enough things right to create a tense and unsettling environment where it can get around the awkward plot to set out and accomplish its goals. A24 isn’t exactly foreign to the idea of a flashy and out there horror movie, and while In Fabric isn’t for everyone, I’m sure that there’s a few people out there who will find value in this movie.
Overall, In Fabric may feel like a system shock to the genre for some people, but in the greater context of horror it’s far more impressive than the movies that rely exclusively on jump scares and fake outs. I don’t know how big these actors and directors are in the UK, but since they aren’t mainstream names in the US, I have a hard time seeing anyone actively seek out In Fabric. Maybe someone on a quest to watch all the A24 movies will find it, but I can’t see mainstream audiences appreciating In Fabric the same way I did.
Overall Score: 7.5/10