The Jeans in Slaxx (2020) are Killer!
First Wide Release: September 11, 2020 (Theatrical Release)
Director: Elza Kephart
Writer: Patricia Gomez, Elza Kephart
Runtime: 77 Minutes
Starring: Romane Denis, Brett Donahue, Sehar Bhojani
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
Libby (Romane Denis) is the latest hire for the trendy clothing store Canadian Cotton Clothiers. Bright-eyed and idealistic, Libby is excited to work for a company that shares her values of sustainability and ethical labor conditions. Libby meets the assortment of quirky co-workers (Brett Donahue, Sehar Bhojani, Kenny Wong, Tianna Nori, Jessica B. Hill, and Hanneke Talbot) who will be joining her in preparing the store for the launch of their latest product, the Super Shapers, a hip new pair of jeans. Unfortunately for them, the Super Shaper jeans in stock have a mind of their own, as they have been possessed and are out for vengeance. Will Libby and the team be able to stop the paranormal pants from wreaking havoc on unsuspecting shoppers in-line for the sale or will they be torn at the seams by the deadly denim?
Slaxx is a lean helping of horror satire dressed up in plenty of gags and laughs.
The setup of Slaxx gives it so many advantages in relatability. Characters like the high-strung and egocentric store manager Craig (Donahue) and the caustically defiant employee Jemma account for just a few of the quirky people one might find working overnight at a high fashion boutique. These characters are sold with some over-the-top performances but that’s what adds to the fun. Donahue gives the most memorable performance of the bunch while Sehar Bhojani’s Shruti grounds the film with a straighter character.
While not a perfect film, Slaxx has a lot of heart put into it. The most impressive aspect of the film is the Super Shapers themselves. The puppeteering is incredible! I love how they behave so differently throughout the film acting like animals in one scene and soldiers in another, all the while stalking their prey by pretending to be inanimate. It prevents the film from ever getting repetitive. I also appreciate how unexpectedly deep the messaging runs and how Slaxx has some clever things to say about fast fashion and labor rights.
Director Elza Kephart goes out of her way to make a fun, socially conscious possessed object flick and she succeeds. Peppered with funny one-liners and quick, to-the-point humor, Kephart’s satire cuts into the misdeeds of consumerism in Western society. It’s hard to miss when there is literal blood woven into the clothes that are now marked up and ready for consumption by a frothing mob of zombie-like customers. There’s also biting commentary about branding and marketing. While the CCC makes itself known as an environmentally conscious and ethical brand, it’s clear that is all a bunch of lies as they are exploiting workers in the Global South for profit. Overall, Kephart keeps the film tight and lean, much like the pants, to avoid overstaying its wacky premise.
Some of the flaws, however, are not as easy to ignore. Even though the cast injects much needed enthusiasm and energy into a film about killer fabric, it doesn’t change the fact that most everyone is a caricature and nothing more. It’s hard to root for anyone except the two female leads. These leads don’t have much depth either. Other than what originally drove Libby to join the company, we don’t know much else about her and why it is important to her.
It’s hard to forget a movie about killer jeans. Slaxx is silly fun that is easily digestible and engaging. It knows how ridiculous it is and that is its biggest selling point. With a sharp message and miniscule runtime, Slaxx gets to the point and doesn’t overstay its welcome. Understandably, this film won’t be for everyone. For those who are looking for something scary or otherwise philosophical, this might be a good one to skip. Those who are looking for something fun, however, can rest assured that Slaxx will not bore, even if only for its novelty. These jeans may not always be in style, but Slaxx proves that fun B-movies always will be.
Overall Score? 6/10