With a heavy dose of satire, an ethical moral lesson, buckets of blood, and a pair of Bollywood-dancing killer jeans, there’s a lot stitched into the seams of Slaxx. From the producers of Canadian cult favorite Turbo Kid, Slaxx has all the materials to be another underground hit.
In the film, an enthusiastic new employee for a trendy, big-name, ethically-sourced clothing company has the worst first day of her life when the brand’s newest clothing release — gender inclusive, Super Shaper jeans — become possessed and go on a murder spree.
So, yes, it’s plenty ridiculous. But, while it never takes itself too seriously, Slaxx never fully submits to the absurdity, keeping one cotton-woven pant leg grounded with sardonic digs at influencer culture and the corporate monetization of ethics. You know it when you see it — companies that flaunt wokeness and sustainability to encourage consumers. With large-scale corporations, this image can be performative, done not because it’s the right way to practice business and produce goods, but because it’s more likely to draw money from your wallet.
The company culture at Slaxx’s CCC — Canadian Cotton Clothiers — is almost comically conscious of gender and cultural sensitivity. This is admirable, but it also feels very fake, with employees taking advantage of this mindfulness to get a lot more flexibility from their employer. There’s no doubt that CCC’s senior staff aren’t buying the message they’re selling.
Referring to sections of the store as the employee’s “ecosystem”, chanting a company mantra of “belong, believe, be love, become”, and showcasing the brand tagline “make a better tomorrow today”, the CCC’s image is hyper-tailored, presenting themselves as a mindful, ethical company to be celebrated. Of course, CCC is not as squeaky-clean as they appear.
Slaxx not only draws attention to performative corporate culture, it also highlights the exploitation of child workers, the use of GMOs, and the grossness of rampant materialism. In Slaxx, consumerism kills. With significant amounts of blood.
Despite the positive-vibes-only energy exuded by CCC, their employees are generally terrible; shallow, self-absorbed, and just flat-out rude, they make excellent cannon fodder for the rampaging jeans. Because even with all the moral and ethical not-at-all-hidden messaging, it’s still a movie about killer jeans, so of course, the carnage is critical.
And speaking of carnage, Slaxx isn’t afraid to get its hands dirty with buckets of blood and gnarled bodies. With pants puppetry and practical effects (by Blood Brothers FX, the special effects company behind Turbo Kid, Blood Quantum, and Ravenous), Slaxx has a blast just doing its thing. Disappointingly, it doesn’t go as body-stacking bonkers as Turbo Kid; it’s less brazen in its bloodshed, but it’s still effectively messy.
Directed by Elza Kephart and co-written by Kephart and Patricia Gomez, the plot is not complex — and rather predictable — but this doesn’t affect the enjoyment of the film. Slaxx is heavy on concept, with the ideas of the film taking the lead over the dialogue and script. That said, it is a solid and fun concept which the film executes seamlessly, offering a unique and meaningful take on the sentient-object slasher.
The main takeaway from Slaxx — the ugliness of consumerism, corporate greed, and the reality of child labor — is perhaps a bit cynical for such a quirky horror-comedy. Frankly, it was unexpected, but it was not unwelcome. It adds another layer to the fabric of the story, and without it, Slaxx would be more like (most of) the characters within the film — shallow, lazy, and without any real depth.
Though Slaxx may scream youthful, casual fun, it’s got a carefully tailored, mature edge that really pulls the whole outfit together. Horror is not one-size-fits-all, but Slaxx offers a pretty comfortable fit.
Slaxx will air Shudder on March 18 in the US, UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, and will be available in Canada on March 23 on Google, iTunes, and Amazon Prime. You can check out the trailer here.