Slaxx, directed by Elza Kephart and written by Elza Kephart and Patricia Gomez, is a comedic horror film following a possessed pair of jeans as they rampage through a clothing store reminiscent of fast fashion and high street brands complete with faux ethics and manufacturing processes.
Variety of Kills!
Slaxx is a fun romp through the ridiculous world of pants that kill people, and what works so well in this horror-comedy is how each of these kills feels unique. When the first character dies, I worried that every other death would be the same thing repeated, but Slaxx wonderfully surprises at every turn, some more ridiculous and amazing than others.
In addition to having creative kills that make the slasher fan in me happy, Slaxx also twists and turns in new and exciting ways, offering a sometimes poignant portrayal of the fast fashion industry and the desire to make clothing as cheaply as possible with no real care at the lives this puts at risk.
Slaxx is short with a 77-minute runtime and utilizes this well. I probably could have watched another hour of jeans attacking people in increasingly absurd and entertaining ways, but the short runtime does work for the film.
Fun Characters with Unique Personalities
In addition to hitting the comedy of the gore-soaked moments, Slaxx also pays especially close attention to its characters. The group of co-workers captures different personalities that one comes across in retail. Libby (Romane Denis) is a new-hire and Denis plays the innocence of the character beautifully.
Anyone who has ever started a job and felt like they were thrown in the deep end can relate to her kind and at times frazzled character. She is quickly sent by her manager to another co-worker who then sends her to someone else, while nobody actually explains what she needs to do for her job.
Shruti (Sehar Bhojani) is another particularly strong character. Shruti calls Libby out in their first meeting for assuming she must listen to Bollywood music because she is Indian. Libby realizes the implications of her assumption and the two end up having the closest thing to a friendship in this one day of work where jeans are killing and maiming left and right.
Other co-workers feel reminiscent of people you may have worked with, some much more focused on themselves than others. Craig (Brett Donahue) the manager of the store, who desperately wants a corporate promotion, is portrayed with such energy by Donahue. His facial expressions wonderfully showcase how Craig walks the line between passionate and bordering on insane. His performance is a joy to watch and adds personality to a part that could fall into familiar tropes of power-hungry characters.
Serious Moments Within the Absurdity
Slaxx remarkably blends the more absurd moments of its plot with more heartbreaking ones shining a light on the fashion industry. The film touches on poor working conditions, companies not knowing exactly who is on their payroll in other countries, and child labor while maintaining its horror-comedy tone.
The funnier moments make the glimpses into harsh reality hit that much harder, but never demean the seriousness of these issues. Slaxx is a fun film filled with entertaining kills, but having a connection to something a little more serious and relevant to real-life helps it stand out.
Horror is a genre that often highlights challenging real-life issues through plots and stories which seem absurd, creating an easier way to digest these truths. Slaxx is no exception. It is a memorable satirical horror wonderfully balancing these different tones within a cohesive and enjoyable experience.
Slaxx offers plenty of fun and amusing gory moments with a heartfelt story showcasing the evils of the fashion industry with especially strong performances from Romane Denis, Sehar Bhojani, and Brett Donahue. Patricia Gomez and Elza Kephart are welcome voices to the pantheon of women in Horror and I look forward to their work both in directing and writing.
Slaxx streams exclusively on Shudder
Does a film about killer jeans sound fun to you? Are you excited to see a new horror written and directed by women? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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