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film review

Marianne Jean-Baptiste stars in Peter Strickland's In Fabric.Courtesy of Mongrel

  • In Fabric
  • Written and directed by Peter Strickland
  • Starring Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Sidse Babett Knudsen and Leo Bill
  • Classification R
  • 118 minutes

Rating:

3 out of 4 stars

Peter Strickland’s films seem beamed in from another world, or perhaps whisked away from an alternate reality where moral standards are lax and every household item comes draped in velvet and splashed with blood. Watching The Duke of Burgundy, Berberian Sound Studio and now In Fabric are seductive and often transformative experiences – and trying to articulate their contents to the inexperienced is akin to describing a fever dream while under the influence of too many Tylenol 3s.

New in theatres this week: Canadian triumph Antigone, the powerful She Never Died and the terrible Kindness of Strangers

If this all sounds like hyperbole, it’s only because my mind is still trying to sort itself out after watching In Fabric’s lurid, sensual ghost story during the Toronto International Film Festival – two years ago. Ostensibly about a haunted dress (yep) pushed on unassuming customers by a demonic department store (double yep), the silly horror trappings are more of an excuse for Strickland to revel in his most extreme obsessions (sex, death, satin, Satan, the distinct peculiarities of Fatma Mohamed line-readings).

Split into two halves, the first (starring Marianne Jean-Baptiste as a divorced mother trying to rev up her romantic life) is far more successful than the second (which features Leo Bill’s milquetoast repairman), but there is something undeniably hypnotizing about the whole endeavour. It is also quite hilarious and will scare you off department store sales for life. In Fabric is a beautiful, unpredictable nightmare for those drawn to giggle in the dark.

In Fabric opens Dec. 6 at Edmonton’s Metro Cinema and Toronto’s TIFF Lightbox, and Dec. 10 on AppleTV and VOD.