Feature Film (United Kingdom)
Duration: 110 minutes
A demented symphony of cartoonish fear tactics, eccentric two dimensional characters and a bizarre plotline revolving around a dress possessed by the murdered soul of its original owner and the disasters that comes to anyone in possession of it.
The style of storytelling is unique to say the least and requires you to release any logic and rationale as its awkwardness plays out.
“The power of association with an object and how that can haunt us is really what I’m trying to throw open as a subject.” said filmmaker, Peter Stickland. “How seeing an item of clothing from a deceased loved one alters your blood pressure. There’s also the element of transformation when wearing something.”
Marianne Jean-Baptiste who plays the first owner of the dress, Sheila, brings a sense of realism to the script amid the surrounding madness and outrageous concept of a demonic dress. Her first encounter with Miss Luckmoore played by Fatma Mohamed is the strongest scene in the film.
Playing off the stoic riddles of Fatma Mohamed’s Miss Luckmoore, the department store clerk, the holes in the script were overcome by these two actresses together on screen who create an allure for you to buy into the oddity of the plotline. The stoic responses of riddles from Miss Luckmoore to the unaware shopper Sheila were simple but beautifully written:
“The hesitation in your voice soon to be an echo in the recesses of the spheres in retail”
“In apprehensions lie the crevasses of clarity”
The script had its moments but the movie was a little short on atmosphere at times, as we were carted around into the senselessness of workplace scenes and interwoven montage sequences of department store advertisements. In hindsight, they served no real purpose to the plot development. Even stranger is the introduction of a new set of characters two thirds of the way through the film after having emotionally invested into Sheila’s character with an unsatisfying resolution.
“It could be seen as a satire on consumerism, in some ways, but I see it more as a celebration of shopping. A good shop is almost a museum, in a sense. The ambience can really change your mood. Online shopping is not the same as entering these physical spaces that are all different.“ continues Stickland.
It’s like a dream or nightmare with no real beginning or end, a descent into madness where the flow from scene to scene is disjointed and there’s no logical point to the dialogue that resolves the genesis of the mystical force wreaking havoc in everyone’s life.
Avant grade at its best, attuned to its cult following.