Brooklyn Horror Film Festival Review: FASHIONISTA (2016)

With FASHIONISTA being one of the film’s at the top of my list to see for awhile now, I was excited to check it out for the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival. Everything about this plot intrigued me, as I have a hard time turning down a good mystery/thriller (with a touch of horror) and a great cast. I am happy to announce that I loved everything about this movie, and am thrilled to review and discuss it in-depth.

Written and directed by Simon Rumley, Fashionista follows April and Eric (Amanda Fuller and Ethan Embry), the owners of a vintage clothing store with a less than ideal marriage. As suspicions of adultery arise, April clings to clothing as her emotional aid, with her life spiraling out of control at every turn. This psychological roller coaster weaves its way between the cracks of a mind tainted with suspicions, jealousy, and self-doubt, and the consequences that follow suite from the actions of everyone involved.

This environment that director Rumley creates is one formed through the experience of emotional chaos. April’s now traumatic lifestyle births a series of deadly coping mechanisms that lead her into a hazy reality. The audience sees what appears to be multiple worlds coexisting throughout the film – the rocky marriage between husband and wife, a mysterious, seductive stranger (Eric Balfour) that April gets entangled with during her husband’s affair, and an unknown hospitalized woman (Alex Essoe), who’s story remains unknown until the end. These interchangeable sequences are almost like a dream, representing the fractured psyche one endures when confronted with life-changing circumstances, and the places one’s imaginations are capable of wandering off to when presented with turmoil.

To say that I thoroughly enjoyed this film would be an understatement. Its impact and dark tone is right up my alley for a good independent thriller. Rumley portrays the sensations of a shattering world very well with his chosen camera shots and use of color. The shots seen between April and Eric’s mountains of clothing within their home really depict how hectic their lives are, border lining on the cusp of having hoarder tendencies. The movie feels gritty and alive, with real people experiencing real problems. All the actors were on-point as well, with Amanda Fuller and Ethan Embry creating an effective duality between each other.

FASHIONISTA displays a macabre brilliance that hops between worlds both real and fictitious, and demonstrates ultimate collapse caused by addiction, dangerous desires, and blurred emotional responses. You’ll witness multiple tragic tales unfold as each character becomes sequestered within themselves, while surrounded by the temptations of wealth and colorful clothing. I really enjoyed sinking into this film and taking part in piecing together its mysteries. It’s one that I highly recommend seeing, and one that I can’t wait to watch again.

Abigail Braman
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