Movies about killer objects are a dime a dozen in the horror genre. Whether it’s killer tires (Rubber), killer tomatoes (Attack of the Killer Tomatoes), or even killer weaves (Bad Hair), there’s a film out there for nearly anything one can imagine. Of course, these range in quality from hilariously bad to hilariously good. Killer jeans are certainly a first, and I’m happy to say that Shudder’s new film Slaxx falls into the latter category. It’s a gory good time with raunchy humor, brutal kills, and potent commentary about commercialism that never overstays its welcome, briskly-paced 77-minute runtime.
Libby (Romane Denis) is a mousy salesclerk just starting her new job at Canadian Cotton Clothiers. Just as they are readying the launch of the brand new Super Shapers—jeans that automatically adapt to your body size—the corpses start piling up. Management becomes hard-pressed to launch this newest collection in the hopes that it’ll revive their brand regardless of the casualties.
At first, it appears there won’t be any surprises in the kills. You know as soon as someone puts on the jeans that they’re toast. It quickly becomes evident that there’s more in store than suspected. The kills in this film are equal parts vicious and laughable, sparing no expense in the blood department. Every death is a highlight that amps up the entertainment factor tremendously. The jeans themselves are glorious to behold. The creepy slithering motion of the jeans brings to mind the stop-motion animation effects of earlier horror efforts, like the original Evil Dead. The more we see the jeans onscreen, the more they morph into a character all their own. The roughness of the motion is zombie-like in ferocity.
The one area the movie fails is in the characterizations, with most employees serving as mere cardboard cutout throwaway jean-food. The soulless manager is meant to be an awful person, yet even Libby isn’t all that likable and comes across rather desperate. Stronger characters with concise personalities would’ve edged this up to even greater heights. In a movie about killer jeans, the decision to undervalue the character dynamics seems to be a moot complaint in the grand scheme of things. The body count is reasonably high, and that’s what matters most.
Slaxx comes complete with a smart script that shines the light on manipulative corporations and their undervalued employees. It uses campy horror as a backdrop to make a statement about consumerism that feels both timely and relevant. Come for the gnarly jean-killing action. Stay for the humor and social commentary. See the jeans sway to Bollywood tunes when Slaxx drops on Shudder on Thursday, March 18th.