Film Review: Slaxx

slaxx indexThere’s been films about killer beds and killer refrigerators and even killer hair extensions (the latter, Exte, being enormous fun), but to my knowledge there’s never been a film about murderous trousers before, though thanks to director and co-writer Elza Kephart and fellow co-writer Patricia Gomez there is now. A low budget, fairly short film this Canadian comedy horror is an assured, smart piece, but one which is perhaps a little too simplistic.

Following Libby (Romane Denis) on her first day at work at fashionable clothing store CCC, it quickly fills us in on her co-workers including the very shitty boss Craig (Brett Donahue), who’s a stickler for the rules and takes his role far too seriously. It also seems like pretty much all of the other staff members are slightly abhorrent company men / women who are vain and vapid types who treat new hire Libby pretty damn poorly, one is sympathetic but that’s it, which means you probably won’t be devastated when they inevitably begin to be viciously murdered by the killer slaxx of the title.

It’s one of those films where people die and at best a character might slightly gasp before carrying on as if nothing was wrong, with one of them quite happy to send others to their deaths if it means they save their own hide. Libby is a likeable “Final girl” but as with all of the other characters the film would have been stronger if we knew a little more about her, and as it’s only 73 minutes long there’s no real excuse why this didn’t take place.

At least when the killer slaxx are dancing about (quite literally in a couple of scenes) it’s a very funny movie, and some of the deaths are amusingly ridiculous. While not subtle there’s some fairly amusing satire when it comes to consumerism and capitalism, and its use of vlogger Peyton means the film briefly mocks the vanity of influencers effectively. It also contains a serious aspect when it comes to the way workers are treated in third world countries and how many a company probably can’t be trusted when they say they don’t use child workers or sweatshops, which gives the film a little more depth than this sort of low budget fare often has.

The manner in which Libby and the one other decent human being in the film, Shruti (Sehar Bhojani) communicate with the monster is a little contrived, and a couple of elements don’t quite add up, like how the jeans absorb litres of blood but only a tiny bit of it then shows on the logo, or indeed how that logo manages to sometimes hypnotise people, but then if you’re expecting a film about killer jeans to make complete sense you’ve probably come to the wrong movie.

The ending feels slightly dodgy alas, one aspect works really well but a second concerning the nature of the killer jeans is something that felt questionable. It’s a very rare occasion where I wish a film had been longer, and that they’d really gone for the jugular when attacking corporate life and given toxic masculinity an even bigger kicking, and so though fans of the horror aspects may find a fair amount to like here, if you’re looking for a searing satire you might find it slightly lacking.

★★★

Alex Finch.
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