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Slaxx (2021) - Movie Review

Slaxx (2021) - Movie Review
7 10

PLOT: During an overnight retrofit at a popular clothing store, a group of retail workers must survive the night against a pair of murderous pants!

LOWDOWN: Slaxx (WATCH IT HERE) stars Romane Denis as Libby, an eager and wide-eyed retail worker who's starting her first shift at the CCC, an eco-friendly and insufferable Millennial/Gen Z inspired clothing store. It's through her perspective that we enter the wild and wonderful world of retail and all of the minute details that make it run in the horror-comedy. As the overnight goes on, one by one, each employee succumbs to the man-eating pair of jeans, forcing Libby and her cranky co-worker Shruti (Sehar Bhojani) to go on the offense. Together they must find out what the f*ck is going on and how to stay alive.

Director Elza Kephart gives us a zany, over-the-top, and surprisingly accurate retail experience through the lens of horror-comedy. As someone who's worked a bunch of retail in his past, I can attest to the amount of specific and correct detail put in here. Things like zone naming, staying in the said zone, and mantra-led touch bases were so on brand; it had me grinning from ear to ear. Little nuances that may go over most people's heads fleshed out this world in such a realistic way that it made the killer pants angle far more enjoyable for me. Kephart surprised me with her sharp commentary on some of our current times' absurdness, trust in corporate activism, and influencer stardom. All in good fun; I appreciate the sharp and witty tongue she displays here.

The CCC is a cartoonish yet true to life representation of a retail conglomerate that aims to please the public with every buzzword imaginable yet isn't as "clean" as they'd like you to think they are. Enter the killer jeans on a path of revenge. Every character, minus Libby, is a trope of the retail world only amped up to eleven. Craig (Brett Donahue) is the store manager who's so selfish and conniving that he actually hides the first body, so the launch still goes "as planned." Donahue wants a raise, and the success of the launch is directly tied to it. Not even a pile of bodies and the safety of his staff will stop him from climbing the corporate ladder.

I can appreciate that Kephart matched the gore with the heightened world she created. The first kill shows off the buckets-of-blood style she is going for, and it had me cheering like a loud drunk on Saint Patrick's Day. We get bodies chewed in half, hands cut off, and much more. More akin to the gore of Evil Dead 2, Slaxx knows its audience and knows it well. One avenue that is always a tough sell for me is comedy when mixed with horror. Not that I don't love the classics or the contemporary hits, but I find it forced a lot of the time. Slaxx got more than a few chuckles out of me, and dammit if the coded and asinine retail talk didn't have me pissing my pants at times. A stand-out scene has Libby awkwardly (though endearing) trying to connect with Shruti over music which goes as south as you'd expect it to nowadays. Bhojani has the dry cadence and delivery, making her probably my favorite character.

Is there a downside? Well, while Slaxx does a great job at keeping things fun, there is a message that, in context, I actually like, but its delivery is way too heavy-handed. The CCC is the contemporary and virtuous corporation that social media loves, yet we find it is just as corrupt and evil as all the rest... No sh*t. The 'why' behind the evil pants makes logical sense (for a killer pants movie), yet this message is presented as stone-cold serious. Slaxx slows down with depressing music and tries to make a real point. It's weird and kills the momentum of what came before. Since everything else is commented on through humorous wit, the overlining message should follow suit as well.

GORE: We get buckets of blood, bodies cut in half, and the type of over-the-top gore I love.

BOTTOM LINE: Slaxx is a wild and cheeky time that takes a ridiculous concept and runs wild with it. Elza Kephart crafts a witty, embellished, and accurate take on the retail world that's filled to the brim with blood and gore. Surprisingly funny and at times sweet, this mixes the often clunky genre of horror and comedy into a solid story about the dangers of denim. Slaxx shows that The Horror Collective and Shudder may be the perfect mix for a good time. The Iceman says, check this one out!

SLAXX will stream exclusively to Shudder on March 18th in the US, UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as via the Shudder offering within the AMC+ bundle where available.

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