A possessed pair of jeans wrecks havoc on retail workers in Slaxx, a Canadian horror-comedy from the producers of Turbo Kid that isn’t nearly as funny as that pitch but wins the audience over with outrageous and relentless kills.
Before being terrorized by killer denim, the employees of the allegedly elite Canadian Cotton Company prepare for the launch of an exclusive new line that includes groundbreaking one-size-fits-all technology. The self-important employees, led by an apathetic and aloof manager (Brett Donahue), prepare for a store-wide overnight lockdown where all hands are on deck to set up displays, unpack new product, and make a good impression for online influencer Peyton Jules (Erica Anderson). No one, however, is concerned to set a good impression for their go-getter new hire Libby (Romane Denis), who also acts as an avatar for the audience. Throughout the evening, employees go missing; and the common factor between these disappearances seems to be the beguiling, state-of-the-art jeans that the victims are so mesmerized by.
While, at first, Eliza Kephart’s Slaxx seems to be in the same fashion as the bizarre psychosexual thriller In Fabric, it’s more so cut from the same cloth as the Wolfcop franchise or last year’s campy B-movies Porno and Ravers. However, Slaxx is much more reserved than those crass examples. For me, this choice is a double-edged sword for Kephart. Adult humour may have made the film blend into the sea of campy schlock, but not substituting it for something else makes the movie a little dull. I liked the film’s concept behind its retail roasting (especially when it satirizes the phoney-bologna “we’re all family” mantra), and when the film’s sobering third act holds a mirror up to the capitalist industry behind the creation and distribution of clothing. But, the dialoguing to convey these themes (delivered by the actors and in the screenplay written by Kephart and Patricia Gomez) is very obvious and stilted.
But, as mentioned, all those gripes dissolve when the spotlight is on the killer jeans that are literally blood-thirsty. The filmmakers and special effects artists behind Slaxx think of inventive ways to use every detail found on a pair of jeans to brutally harm someone else. The zipper and the legs are usually the weapons, while the back pockets act as eye sockets for this creature. The late addition of a mannequin’s top torso is both hilarious and creepy. And, did I mention the dancing? Wait until you see this leggy murderer cut a rug.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie