New from A Reel of One’s Own by Andrea Thompson: Chicago Critics Film Festival 2019: In Fabric

By Andrea Thompson

Knives. Music. A red dress. Yep, “In Fabric” is very much a midnight movie, fully embracing its 70s aesthetic without bothering to explain any of the very weird shit that occurs. So “In Fabric” may not be for you even if you share its sensibilities.

There’s kind of a whole lot of commentary on consumerism, how women respond to it, who gets to promote what we are trained to desire, and how department stores respond after these needs are created. Only kind of though, due to the weirdness of “In Fabric” taking priority above all else. The horror begins when Sheila (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) buys a dress at a department store where the saleswomen speak in strange philosophical utterances. Soon Sheila begins noticing stranger occurrences, but she doesn’t know the half of it, what with the dress hovering over her while she sleeps and literally creeping into rooms where people are having sex.

A clear pattern emerges, with anyone who wears the dress suffering from a sequence of events which soon threaten to turn deadly. It’s a feast for the eyes throughout, with each character emerging as actual characters, even if they ultimately end up fodder. But even the most sumptuous of feasts must eventually nourish, and as the dress wreaks havoc, the loosely interconnected stories feel more like films in their own right, which makes “In Fabric” drag during its third act. The stories may come together, but the methods remains mired in madness.

Grade: B-

from A Reel Of One’s Own

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