In Fabric

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* * * 1/2

Peter Strickland is a living testament to the excellence of the British film industry and in particular the BFI Film Fund and BBC Films. He is an uncompromising iconoclastic auteur of the first order, making deeply weird, personal visions for a highly cine-literate audience… and he gets funded, distributed, and seen. Praise be.

His latest, In Fabric, continues his fascination (obsession?) with giallo cinema, fetishism, and the perfect reverberating note between comedy and horror. It stands perfectly on the shelf with his three previous features – Katalin Varga, Berberian Sound Studio and The Duke of Burgundy – while playing with the levels. Here, he pushes up the faders on camp and colour while lowering those on naturalism and emotional impact. Of the four, this is the most blatantly and intentionally ‘fun’.

It’s about a haunted red dress, as it passes from a boutique department store to two different owners. Hayley Squires, who I adore, is one of them, and seeing her as a co-lead is enough justification for anyone to go to a cinema. It’s not the funniest comedy nor the scariest horror film, but is absolutely the most committed haunted-dress movie of the year. It’s Peter Strickland, it’s full of artistic integrity, and it’s fabulous.

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