In Fabric

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
In Fabric Movie Poster Image
Nightmarish, surreal horror movie has very mature content.
  • R
  • 2019
  • 118 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

No real messages here; this is mainly a story about how evil sometimes happens for no reason at all.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters here are flawed and mostly wind up as victims.


Gory, bloody wounds. Profuse bleeding. Dog attacks a person viciously. Dress attacks. Characters die. Jump scares/loud noises. Car crash. Creepy, surreal, nightmarish stuff. Nightmare sequences (including one about a scary, blood-covered baby). Fighting. Brawl in clothing store, chaos, looting, etc. Store on fire.


A character fondles a mannequin; it develops a "real" vagina (with pubic hair). The character touches it while another character watches and appears to masturbate. The fondler licks her finger and smears blood on her mouth. A character has an orgasm, with moaning. A character folds up a picture, slides it under her dress. Another character attempts to masturbate under the covers. One character gives oral sex to another (his head is between her legs). Two characters have dispassionate sex with their clothes (mostly) on. Passionate kissing. Graphic sex-related artwork. Sex-related dialogue.


Infrequent uses of "a--hole," "bitch," "bastard," "ass."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters gulp down beers in a bar and get very drunk. Character vomits on ground after drinking too much.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that In Fabric is a surreal horror movie inspired by Italian and English genre movies of the 1960s and 1970s. It's more nightmarish and unsettling than it is scary, and, while it's very well made, it will really only appeal to a certain breed of horror hound. Expect several scenes of blood and gore, a vicious dog attack, monster attacks, jump scares and loud noises, death, a car crash, fighting, a brawl, and general chaos (with fire). Sexual content is quite graphic, with some unusual behavior (a woman touches the "real" vagina of a store mannequin, while a man watches and masturbates). Scenes also show passionate kissing, implied sex, oral sex, explicit sexual artwork, sex-related dialogue, and more. Language is infrequent but includes "a--hole," "bitch," "ass," and "bastard." Characters drink heavily in a bar and get very drunk; one vomits on the ground.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byholiferkingsly October 24, 2020


I can’t even describe what I just watched. Proper mental
Teen, 15 years old Written byPotatoskins89 May 24, 2020

A Strange Movie. And All The Better For It

This movie is really weird, like really strange. This won’t be for everyone, it doesn’t explain much and it can be considered to be too weird for some. For me p... Continue reading

What's the story?

IN FABRIC introduces viewers to Sheila (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), who's recently separated from her husband and living with her grown son, Vince (Jaygann Ayeh). Lonely, Sheila places a dating ad and sets out to buy a perfect dress. A strange shop, promoted by bewitching TV ads, offers her a one-of-a-kind red dress that fits perfectly. But Sheila's first date goes badly, she finds the tension rising in her home as Vince brings home a model/girlfriend (Sidse Babett Knudsen), and weird things start happening around the dress. The washing machine is destroyed while trying to clean it, the garment moves around by itself, and it magically mends itself. But even after Sheila's nightmare is over, things continue when Reg (Leo Bill) is forced to wear the dress at his stag party.

Is it any good?

Inspired by Italian and English horror movies of the 1960s and '70s, this surreal nightmare offers inspired imagery and unsettling sound design, but it may run a little too long to sustain its spell. Written and directed by Peter Strickland (Berberian Sound Studio, The Duke of Burgundy), In Fabric is quite unlike, say, the 2018 remake of Suspiria in that it seems to get inside the giallo and horror genres, rather than simply paying homage to them. This film is less interested in providing simple scares than it is in depicting the creeping logic of a nightmare. (Several scenes are devoted to characters actually describing their own creepy nightmares.)

It's an impressive achievement in tactile, intuitive filmmaking, finding a mesmerizing flow that rises above a typical monster movie. Yet In Fabric slips a little in its second half. Jean-Baptiste is so good and so genuine in the first half that when things switch over to the almost comically mismatched couple -- meek, turkeylike Reg and bossy, chatty Babs (Hayley Squires) -- the movie begins to feel more like a parody. Strickland has enough visual and aural themes to finally sew things together in a satisfying way, but the switch leaves the second half somewhat ill-fitting. If only someone could have taken the material in a little bit, this movie could have been even more shockingly satisfying.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about In Fabric's violence. How strong is it, and how did it affect you? How much is shown or not shown? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • How does the movie depict sex? What values are imparted?

  • How scary is the movie? What's the appeal of horror movies?

  • What does "surreal" mean? Which scenes in this movie are surreal?

  • Why do you think some filmmakers choose to pay homage to works that were made in the past? Why is returning to the past so interesting or powerful?

Movie details

  • In theaters: December 6, 2019
  • On DVD or streaming: February 11, 2020
  • Cast: Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Hayley Squires, Leo Bill
  • Director: Peter Strickland
  • Studio: A24
  • Genre: Horror
  • Run time: 118 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: strong sexual content including a scene of aberrant behavior, and some bloody images
  • Last updated: February 10, 2020

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