In Fabric Movie Review: Peter Strickland Spins Giallo Horror Tropes in Throwback A24 Film

Review: In Fabric shows exactly the kind of filmmaker that Peter Strickland can be. He’s unashamed of wearing his influences on his sleeves, but that’s not always a terrible thing. He molds his own style to the style of Giallo movies effortlessly, as if he’s always had this vision in his head. A delightful A24 surprise.

in fabric A24 horror movie review Peter Strickland 2018 film
In Fabric

In Fabric (2018) is my introduction to the works of Peter Strickland, and I’m glad it comes at the intersection of a few of my favorite microcosms and subgenres in the film industry. The first being old school Giallo horror movies, which In Fabric is clearly using as inspiration around every corner. The sound and visual palettes scream of classic horror motifs used in Suspiria, Deep Red, and a handful of other landmark genre movies released in the 1970s and 1980s.

And the other is A24’s grip on the modern horror genre. Strickland’s work here fits perfectly into the off-hand, slightly sinister and transgressive style that has come to be highly influential these last few years. I occasionally bump up against these films when they use shock value for the sake of shock value (Midsommar and Talk to Me come to mind), but nearly everything in In Fabric feels earned. There isn’t a moment wasted, and it culminates in a finale that feels both fitting and audacious.

There’s also a sudden twist in the second act that completely reshuffles the deck in an interesting and clever way. Giallo movies are often unpredictable and ruthless to their central characters, and In Fabric doesn’t shy away from those same narrative tropes. I’m trying not to spoil the events of the film for others because it is best to go in blind, but there are a few moments where Strickland is truly flexing his directing chops, and the results are pretty satisfying.

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And perhaps my favorite aspect of In Fabric is that I feel as if I’m walking out knowing exactly what kind of filmmaker Peter Strickland is. He’s unashamed of wearing his influences on his sleeves, but that’s not always a terrible thing. He molds his own style to the style of Giallo movies effortlessly, as if he’s always had this vision in his head. It takes a really talented, thoughtful filmmaker to make a concept like this (which is equal parts tacky, ridiculous, and corny) and not have it blow up in their face. A movie about a haunted dress floating and causing chaos? Apparently, it can work in the right hands.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Leo Bill both give great performances in the two lead roles, although they’re both given very different character arcs to bring to life. Each hold the narrative in their hands at certain points, and the movie wouldn’t fully work if they aren’t completely bought in to the ridiculous premise. These aren’t easy genre performances to pull off, but they do just that – even if they’re in the face of a floating, possessed dress.

There was this string of throwback, vibrant horror movies to come out around this time period in 2018, and I would say In Fabric may just be my favorite of the bunch. Gaspar Noé’s Climax is quite great, but loses its effect on multiple rewatches. And Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria riff is almost the opposite – in the moment, it feels overly long and indulgent, then it grew on me, but I can’t quite bring myself to see what may improve upon viewing it again. In Fabric seems to be the one that’s having the most fun without sacrificing credibility. I hope to dive deeper into Peter Strickland’s movies soon because this was really intriguing and original. Ugh, 2018 was a great year for horror movies. Take me back.

In Fabric Movie Rating

Genre: Comedy, Horror, Mystery

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In Fabric Cast and Credits

in fabric movie poster 2018 a24 film

Cast

Marianne Jean-Baptiste as Sheila

Sidse Babett Knudsen as Jill

Julian Barratt as Stash

Richard Bremmer as Mr. Lundy

Fatma Mohamed as Miss Luckmoore

Gwendoline Christie as Gwen

Hayley Squires as Babs

Leo Bill as Reg Speaks

Crew

Director: Peter Strickland

Writer: Peter Strickland

Cinematography: Ari Wegner

Editor: Matyas Fekete

Composer: CAVERN OF ANTI-MATTER

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