★★★1/2 out of ★★★★★
Killer pants. Designer jeans to die for. Corporate greed meets its match in a pair of pants thirsting for vengeance.
Directed by Elza Kephart
Canadian Cotton Clothiers. The CCC is a fantastically trendy, eminently fashionable, and thoroughly hyped clothing store — with a conscience. The CCC is 100% eco-friendly, fair trade, sustainable, non-GMO, gluten free, anti-child labor, probiotic, and any other positive quality you can think of. Their employees are a family, their management team a driving force of morality, and their CEO is as close to messianic as one can get.
Also, as you’ve probably guessed, none of that is true.
Slaxx takes place in the brightly lit and influencer-friendly CCC store that’s been chosen as the location for the unveiling of their latest and greatest: a revolutionary pair of jeans that magically adjust to fit any body type making anyone and everyone as glamorous as they could possibly be. The super shaper!
The reality is that these new jeans are made with genetically engineered cotton picked by child laborers in an area with lax safety precautions. One tragic cotton-harvesting accident later and you’ve got the makings for some deadly denims.
Unfortunately for her, the day of this new product’s Grand Reveal is also the very first day of CCC employment for Libby McClean (a role perfectly filled by innocence personified, Romane Denis). Working for the “wholesome” Canadian Cotton Clothiers has been Libby’s dream and Ms. Denis nails this feeling of wide-eyed brand loyalty with ease.
As those around her begin to disappear — victims of the nefarious yet fashionable new jeans — Libby joins forces with one of her co-workers, the no-nonsense Shruti [Sehar Bhojani; TV’s Sex & Ethnicity (2014)], to figure out and foil the plans of the killer clothing.
While a decidedly B-grade movie, the acting in Slaxx is above average and decent enough for the characters being presented. Apart from Denis and Bhojani who shine above the rest, Brett Donahue [TV’s Private Eyes (2019-2020)] as sycophantic store manager Craig and Erica Anderson [Killer Prom (2020)] as over-the-top social media influencer Peyton Jules make their mark.
Special effects in Slaxx are mostly of the low budget fare with minimal gore and many CGI additions, but it works. This isn’t a splatterfest. It’s a horror/comedy with a reasonable amount of juiciness to keep the audience interested. The green screen effects for the disembodied homicidal jeans may be a bit campy, but they’re campy in a good way and it fits right into the film.
The only place where Slaxx falls short is with its social commentary. The tonal shift between straight up goofy horror/comedy and socially conscious endeavor attempting to draw attention to the exploitation of foreign workers and the absurdities of “fast fashion” is a bit jarring and could’ve been more deftly handled.
However, if you’re looking for a fun 77 minutes of colorful sets, Bollywood show tunes, and a pair of jeans with an axe to grind, Slaxx should be first on your list.
Slaxx is currently available for streaming on Shudder and Amazon Prime.
Review by Robert Zilbauer.