IN FABRIC (2018) Reviews and overview

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In Fabric is a 2018 British supernatural horror film with comedic undertones written and directed by Peter Strickland (The Field Guide to Evil segment ‘The Cobblers’ Lot’; Berberian Sound Studio). It was produced by Andrew Starke (The ABCs of Death; The Greasy Strangler; Kill List). The movie stars Gwendoline Christie, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Caroline Catz and Marianne Jean-Baptiste.


There is something odd about the vintage department store in which single mother Sheila (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) finds herself looking for a fancy new dress. The store’s employees are seemingly robotic in their stone-faced dedication to sales, the mannequins seem to be whispering to one another, women nearly trample each other to enter as its doors, and its television commercials are hypnotically sinister.

Nevertheless, Sheila buys a lavish red dress. Little does she know, her life will soon be overcome by a series of random misfortunes, supernatural phenomena, and living nightmares. And, it seems, the dress is to blame…


“There are a few scares and a surprising amount of comedy (credit Gwendoline Christie’s brief cameo as a vampy girlfriend), but the film’s power is after the fact: it lingers in the memory, flirts through the mind at random and leaves a lasting impression.” Bloody Disgusting

“Strickland frequently captures the dress billowing in the wind, shot against a pitch-black background, a shot that is revisited throughout key moments in the film. As a pure image, it is astonishingly, hypnotically beautifully, but it is also perfectly fetishistic, at once a spectral object of desire and horror – a perfect encapsulation of the terrible fascination that the film In Fabric inspires.” Cinevue

In Fabric often finds itself thematically all over the place while chasing exploratory ideas that never fully come to fruition. Trading Sheila for Reg is one example of the film being unable to stand still (figuratively speaking, it literally does so liberally). It is definitely a trade down too.” Culture Crypt

“It’s easy to admire Strickland’s formal chops while still finding the film–or rather his throwback “flourishes”–a little conceited. Similarly, one is impressed by his brazen weirdness, while still finding that In Fabric can never totally succumb to total dream logic a la Dario Argento or Jess Franco.” The Film Stage

“Strickland’s film is visually arresting in the way it works as genre pastiche,  but it’s in the sound department that In Fabric excels; impromptu wails or screams punctuate the archive montages used to establish the era, and there are increasing whispers and audible chatter that pepper the shop floor scenes. It just adds to the unsettling eeriness of it all.” Flickering Myth

” …a freaky mash-up of Are You Being Served? and Tales of the Unexpected, as directed by Mike Leigh after fourteen straight days without sleep […] Challenging, surprisingly funny and never for a second predictable, this is where you come to see what cinema can really be.” The Incredible Suit

“Strickland’s greatest trick with this provocative piece of arthouse horror is understanding the goofiness of the concept and exaggerating that without losing the very serious themes at its core, and the power of its strange horror. The second half underwhelms, and the ending poses more frustrating questions than it answers, but plain and simple, you’ve never seen a ghost story like this.” Killer Horror Critic

“It is a very strange and undeniably appealing film. A horror film more of textures and lighting than necessarily of shocks and mood. And one with a very obscure sense of deadpan humour that leaves you scratching your head. It is a joke that comes more in the strangeness than the overall effect amid a film that is gorgeous to look at.” Moria

“Yes, there are some marvelously cheesy, ‘70s European horror images on display here that should totally be this Argento lover’s thing, even shots of the red dress eerily moving toward people like a slasher, but In Fabric is an example of a talented director with a ton of ideas but no idea how to shape them.”


In Fabric is released by A24 theatrically on December 6th and on-demand on December 10th 2019.

Cast and characters:

Gwendoline Christie … Gwen
Sidse Babett Knudsen … Jill
Caroline Catz … Pam
Marianne Jean-Baptiste … Sheila
Julian Barratt … Stash
Hayley Squires … Babs
Leo Bill … Reg Speaks
Richard Bremmer … Mr Lundy
Steve Oram … Clive
Jaygann Ayeh … Vince
Susanna Cappellaro … Miss Lullworth
Fatma Mohamed … Miss Luckmoore
Karl Farrer … Ribs
Gavin Brocker … Clipper
Simon Manyonda … Neal the Deal
Eugenia Caruso … Charity Shop Shopper
Pano Masti … Vlassis the Waiter
Antonio Mancino … Sandro the Waiter
Sara Dee … Cinnamon Bra Customer
Terry Bird … Bananas Brian

Running time:

118 minutes


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