By Jess Fenton
25th May 2019

I'm a firm believer that there's no such thing as a bad movie. I often forget that I believe this, but I do. While I may hold a bad opinion of a film, the film itself still belongs to someone. Much like a partner in life, there's something for everyone. Having said that, I am deeply perplexed by the film 'In Fabric'. I've always maintained that I'm not a "horror movie" person, although there are the odd exceptions. 'In Fabric' is not one of those exceptions. In recent years, I've had to endure screenings of 'Mother!' and 'Suspiria', leaving me with bleeding eyes while in the following days, weeks and months I listen to others declaring it a "masterpiece". My point is, the following review is strictly my opinion and my opinion only. I will comment on how I viewed the film and how I interpreted it - that doesn't mean that the same will apply to you. Already I'm sure I know of fellow friends, cinephiles and colleagues that will thoroughly enjoy this film - the only thing is... I can't think of single reason why. Only they will know, while I will be left here to wonder. That is my horror.


'In Fabric' follows three lives as they interact with a single ghostly red dress, the origins of which are a department store currently holding its winter sale. The goings on of the store's bizarre employees and management during its closed hours are a series of highly sexual, disturbing and mysterious activities. Meanwhile in the outside world, the current owner of the red dress experiences devastating and equally disturbing occurrences, with each new owner being in the dark to the previous life it affected.

From the low-quality pictures, effects, visual designs and haunting, screeching score you'd think you had stumbled onto a B-grade horror from the 70s or 80s, but I can assure you this film is brand new. Filled with oodles of style, colour and imagination (all of it incomprehensible to me), there is a wonderful retro feel with nostalgic and a mysterious spookiness for those so inclined. But I'll give it this: it's original.

'In Fabric' seems to belong to a fraternity of films that I simply cannot wrap my head around.

Far too many "what the fuck am I watching?", "oh my god" and "No seriously, what the fuck?" mutterings passed through my lips while witnessing all 118 minutes of this certain-to-be-known-in-the-future "masterpiece". I would actually rather sit through a 'Mother!'/'Suspiria' double feature again than have to endure another minute of 'In Fabric'. I am not one to shy away from the weird, the wacky and the delightfully absurd when it comes to cinema, but 'In Fabric' seems to belong to a fraternity of films that I simply cannot wrap my head around. I would so wish to see what others see here but I can't; my imagination fails me. And I know I'm a worse person for it, but for now 'In Fabric' remains the worst piece of shit I've ever had the displeasure of sitting through.

I'm going to give this film half a star because I hated it that much, but here's the thing: isn't such a reaction worth five stars? To simply dislike a film, move on and never give it a second thought is more of an insult than a half star rating. My full-bodied hatred of 'In Fabric' means that a gamut of emotions was run throughout the course of viewing, and that's all a filmmaker is really trying to do, right? Invocation, no matter the result? And for that, 'In Fabric' is a raging success. Five stars!

Looking for more Sydney Film Festival reviews? Click here to check out our collection of this year's highlights.
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