Directed by Elza Kephart.
Starring Romane Denis, Brett Donahue, Sehar Bhojani, Kenny Wong, and Tianna Nori.
A possessed pair of jeans hunts down the staff of a trendy clothing store. They are locked in overnight to prepare the new collection, and it is down to new hire Libby (Denis) to figure out how to stop them.
It’s a fun, silly-sounding plot, for a slasher that is equally silly most of the time. You would think there were limited ways to be murdered by a pair of jeans, but Slaxx gets very creative with its’ killings. Their victims are the often-insufferable staff of CCC, a supposedly ethical fashion retailer. The characters are shallow and self-absorbed, buying completely into their employer’s pretentious brand. To them, the new collection launch is the most important event in the world. Even more important is the collection’s central product, the Super Shapers. A gender inclusive pair of jeans that adapts to fit the shape of the wearer, the Super Shapers also happen to have a taste for blood.
Libby (Denis) has just started her first shift at the store, and is one of the only characters who has any kind of moral compass. The film follows her as she tries to get to the bottom of the killings, and is hindered by manager Craig (Donahue). The staff might be massacred by murderous jeans, but Craig is worse. He is the epitome a selfish, ambitious person, who is willing to ignore any and all problems if it means he’ll get a promotion. Donahue is like a shark; he grins his way through the role, pretending to be friendly and approachable, while ignoring the safety of his staff.
As its’ variety of shallow characters suggests, Slaxx has a lot to say about the evils of consumerism and fast fashion. Like all good slashers, it’s not simply a mindless massacre; it gives us murder combined with morals. It draws attention to the mistreatment of those working for fashion companies, especially when it comes to child labour. To some, the shop workers might seem far removed from this issue, but the film points out that anyone involved in the industry, even the shoppers, is complicit.
It does get a bit heavy-handed, though. The message is explicit enough, shown through the type of people being killed, and the fact that the killer is a possessed pair of jeans. When the backstory of the one possessing the trousers is delved into, it seems like a step too far. Not only does it feel like the message is being beaten into us, the time spent giving exposition completely stalls the progression of the film as a slasher. The action is interrupted for a significant amount of time, but when it picks back up again it’s even better than it was before.
Aside from the heavy-handedness of its messaging, Slaxx is just good, bloody, fun. The premise is wonderfully wacky, and the sight of a regular pair of jeans crawling across the floor, in search of its next victim, is very amusing. The deaths are exceedingly bloody and inventive, providing the perfect amount of spectacle. The Super Shapers have a life of their own, controlling the people who wear them as well as moving around by themselves. Somehow, the film has managed to give them a sense of personality; they munch on the limbs of victims with seeming glee.
Slaxx makes the most of its unusual premise, providing amusement, bloody carnage, and a moral at the heart of the story. The anti-consumerist message might be made a bit too explicit, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had with this comedy-slasher.
Flickering Myth Rating: Film – ★ ★ / Movie- ★ ★ ★
Lauren Miles is a freelance film and television journalist who loves all things gothic, fantasy and film noir. She has an MA in Multimedia Journalism and is a Halloween enthusiast. You can find her on Twitter @Lauren_M1les.