Horror films about deadly inanimate items have a long history, and Slaxx, a Canadian horror comedy, is a worthy addition to the canon. Elza Kephart, the film’s director and co-writer, strikes a good mix between hilarity and fright, with a touch of societal criticism that only becomes a little too heavy-handed near the conclusion. Slaxx’s one-joke idea is stretched to the maximum at 77 minutes, but it’s still enjoyable all the way to the hilarious end-credits outtakes.
Almost the whole film takes place at the main store of Canadian Cotton Clothiers, a fashionable apparel brand that makes a big deal out of its corporate views against child labor and GMOs. In order to drive customers to spend more, the filmmakers precisely replicate an antiseptic fashion shop with retail sections named “ecosystems” and costly things that are supposed to fall out of style within months.
Slaxx: Plot Recap
In the first scene, Slaxx taunts a little girl harvesting cotton in an Indian field next to a sign with the CCC insignia and the term “experimental field.” That’s where CCC obtains the fabric for its innovative new “super shaper” jeans, which can quickly adjust to anyone’s body type (sort of like the pants in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants except, of course, evil). Employees stock CCC’s latest collection, including the super shapers, during an overnight lockout on Libby’s first day.
So, with a stockroom full with super shapers, the staff are imprisoned in the store overnight, shut off from any exterior connections. When an unauthorized employee takes a pair of super shapers, the jeans come to life and develop a desire for blood when the employee slashes herself on the zipper.
The jeans quickly eviscerate the helpless store employee, sucking up her blood, and then neatly placing her severed remains into a cabinet.
Slaxx then becomes a slasher film, with the possessed trousers acting as the stalking villain, murdering individuals one by one. Craig (Brett Donahue), the snobby shop manager, is more concerned with keeping CCC’s flawless image (and getting a promotion) than with a few dead staffers, and he pressures Libby into covering up the first victim of the jeans. When fashion influencer Peyton Jewels (Erica Anderson) shows up for her exclusive first look at the collection and becomes the super shapers’ newest casualty, even Craig can no longer pretend that everything is OK.
The sight of possessed jeans slithering across the floor, springing at someone, or greedily sucking up blood is always entertaining, and Kephart creates some great tension out of having possessed jeans as a lurking murderer. Denis, one of the stars of the underappreciated 2018 adolescent comedy Slut in a Good Way, is a compelling protagonist, with the perfect blend of naiveté and cunning. Donahue also plays the ideal villain, the sniveling corporate climber who values money over human life, and he gives every one of Craig’s disastrous actions a hilariously smarmy face.
Because Slaxx finally provides a sympathetic history for the pants, linked to the social commentary about exploitative labor and corporate dishonesty, Craig is the actual villain. In the third act, there’s a major info-dump sequence that slows the tale down, and Kephart spells out her message a little too cleanly and didactically. Slaxx stays vibrant, reverting to its over-the-top horrors and sardonic comedy even after Libby and coworker Shruti (Sehar Bhojani) get a full explanation of the jeans’ genesis tale.
Slaxx: Ending Explanation
Shruti and Libby approach the jeans gently, capturing the entire scene on video, promising Keerat that they will tell the entire world what this corporation has done as an alternate means to pursue revenge. Promotion-hungry employees, on the other hand, Craig makes the mistake of spraying a fire extinguisher on the jeans, causing the figures to flee.
At this moment, it’s evident that all of the Slaxx jeans, lead by Keerat, are joining together. Craig is frantic for the camera so that he may erase all trace of what occurred in the store; Shruti teases him, so Craig murders her and grabs the camera; he is irritated when he notices that the SD card has been removed.
He eventually locates Libby and demands the SD card from her. Craig gets eaten by a gang of jeans who devour and consume him so swiftly that he becomes a bloody skeleton after Libby is knocked unconscious.
At first, the jeans and lockdown combining in “Slaxx” feels like a sick joke—anyone who has spent the quarantine in cozy, elastic-waist sweatpants and has been dreading the day of squeezing into skintight denim will feel the sting when the mass-produced jeans start attacking people one by one, shredding them to pieces and sucking their blood will feel the sting when the mass-produced jeans start attacking people one by one, shredding them to But don’t worry, they won’t harm you quite as much as those on the screen. A snobby sales clerk, a pleasant cashier, and undoubtedly the irritating, internet-famous influencer Peyton Jules will not be spared from the frenzied bloodbath (Erica Anderson). Kephart and her design team are having a lot of fun rearranging all of the victims’ limbs that have been bathed in a thick crimson ooze.
Underneath all the mayhem is a humanitarian message that co-writers Kephart and Patricia Gomez diligently convey without elaborating on its significance—in the aftermath, you might need a little more substance than the film’s brief 77-minute run time allows. Excessive consumerism, corporate exploitation, and worker rights are teased but not necessarily explored in this regard (and without giving away the nature of these killer pants). However, “Slaxx” isn’t really a serious picture. What it isn’t, though, is Peter Strickland’s highly stylized murder mystery “In Fabric.” The effects are purposefully cheap (they’ll make you laugh), and the performance is purposefully over-the-top. Once you get beyond the oddities, “Slaxx” and its hilarious take on a survive-the-night slasher may provide some blood-splattered fun.
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