Streaming Releases: Second Hand Thriller: Fashionista (2018) Reviewed

Set in a world of second hand shops and adultery abound, Fashionista is a cool arthouse throwback that doesn't pull any punches. Initially set for a 2016 release, it's finally available on streaming services.  This story of duality at the cost of self harm and personal loss is a dramatic piece of storytelling that finds its roots in many different places. 

Starring two of the main female leads from the modern horror film Starry Eyes, this Nicolas Roeg tribute is a strange dive into madness that never lets up in its process. What almost feels like it may cross into Eyes Wide Shut territory with its slow paced soundtrack and realistic portrayals of human relationships on the skids, Fashionista has a cold, brooding feel that surprises its audience with excellent acting that's calculated by Simon Rumley's unique script that paints a vision of addiction we've never quite experienced before. Where some low budgeted indies falter due to a lack of resources, Rumley's film is exemplified by great performances, a cast that hasn't been over used, and a dynamic tale that revels in sexuality outside the norm. 

Sniff. Sniff. Smells like skunk.

Mainly led by actress Amanda Fuller and the always excellent (but barely recognizable) Ethan Embry, hot off The Devil's Candy, the movie centers on a clothing boutique where things are quickly coming to a head. Embry's character Eric has a penchant for destroying relationships while he lives like a pack rat in a house full of "inventory". His wife strives for something bigger. When things begin to fall apart at home, Fuller's character finds herself strung along in a web of perverse violence that's fed by her hunger for fashion and a lifestyle that just may be out of her reach. Taken by the hand, Eric Balfour's character Randall takes advantage of her materialistic desires, leading her down a path of self destruction. Alex Essoe also stars in a smaller but important role. 

Crossing the lines between thriller, horror, psychedelic mind fuck, and tawdry relationship drama, Fashionista attempts to recapture the essence of cinematic days gone by. Never throwing too much back story at his audience, the setup is all there for a great jaunt into a story that's both fresh and imaginative. It may not be perfect by any means, but Rumley finds a center, then nails it. With vital control over a cast that doesn't over emphasize or become melodramatic at any point in the movie, a story that blurs numerous genres into a melting pot of body dysmorphia, depression, and blood letting. 

Fashionista won't be for everyone. But there is definitely an audience that will thoroughly enjoy the way this movie unfolds.