18th Mar2021

‘Slaxx’ Review (Shudder)

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Romane Denis , Sehar Bhojani, Stephen Bogaert, Brett Donahue, Kenny Wong, Tianna Nori, Erica Anderson | Written by Patricia Gomez, Elza Kephart | Directed by Elza Kephart

[NOTE: With the film debuting on Shudder today, here’s a reposting of our review of horror comedy Slaxx, from its festival run last year]

Back in 2010 writer/director Quentin Dupieux brought forth Rubber on an unsuspecting genre audience. That film, about a tyre that killed people – not by running them over but by using telekinesis… I mention Rubber as it seems that film now has a cinematic sibling in Slaxx. A film about another homicidal inanimate object… a killer pair of jeans. Literally.

At Canadian Cotton Clothiers the flagship store staff is preparing for ‘Monday Madness’. For joining the range of supposedly organic, GMO-free, fair-trade, ethically sourced tops and bottoms is the eagerly awaited new line of Super Shaper designer jeans – thermally activated denim that adapts to any body size. But one pair has been accidentally soaked in sweatshop blood and wants revenge on the hipster that work at CCC and the equally hipster customers brought to the store by hot social-media influencer Peyton Jules.

I’m not going to lie. If, like me, you’re excited about a film featuring jeans that kill people you probably have a – lets say – interesting taste in movies. After all, many would presume a film about such a subject would be cinematic trash. Let’s just get it out of the way right now. Slaxx is NOT, and never will be, any type of trashy horror. No, whilst it may be fun and oftentimes absurd, Elza Kephart’s film also has a remarkable things to say about capitalism, corporate culture and greed.

All in a film whose protagonist is a walking, talking (sort of) pair of blue jeans.

Jeans that actually have a story to tell, a reason for taking on the staff of the CCC branch they end up at. A real reason to be angry at consumerism and the corporation whose public ethos is one of love, caring and positivity towards the environment and each other; but in private is all about money-making greed. No matter the cost.

And the cost here is the wanton slaughter of each and every person in the flagship store Canadian Cotton Clothiers! Mutilation, dismemberment, disembowelment, you name it these jeans commit it. In gory glory – with as much blood and guts as an uncut 80s slasher movie but with a LOT more laughs while these killer jeans do the deadly deed.

And that’s the thing – there’s some real grotesquery on show in Slaxx but the horrific edge is taken off by the sheer absurdity of what we see. Jeans that walk around by themselves, eventually – in a reveal of just what, or who, has possessed the evil threads – dancing around the CCC store to Bollywood music. That reveal turns out to be a scathing indictment of capitalism, sweatshops and the use of low-paid workers to produce low-cost products for companies looking to put profit before lives… Costing us everything in the end.

**** 4/5

Slaxx is available to watch on Shudder now.

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