Sustainable Fashion Gets a Sly Send-Up in Killer Jeans Horror Comedy Slaxx
These jeans are killer.
When people say they would die for fashion, they’re usually talking metaphorically. But in the case of Canadian horror comedy Slaxx, that saying takes a hilariously visceral turn. The indie film, co-written and directed by Elza Kephart (Go in the Wilderness), takes place during one night in the hipster clothing store CCC (Canadian Cotton Company), an H&M-inspired workplace that touts their commitment to sustainable, non-GMO, and fair trade fashion. The store is sterile, color-coordinated, and staffed with a variety of snobby, disgruntled employees forced to repeat the company’s catchphrase “Make A Better Tomorrow Today” with every purchase.
Libby (Romane Denis) is the store’s newest hire, a bright-eyed naïf who wholeheartedly believes in the company message. In her orientation, Libby meets gung-ho store manager Craig (Brett Donahue) and snarky salesgirl Shruti (Sehar Bhojani), who prep Libby on the store’s epic new product launch for Super Shapers: a revolutionary new denim jean designed to conform to your body and make you look amazing. The employees work through the night to prep for the launch, which includes a midnight streaming session from YouTube fashionista influencer Peyton Jules (Erica Anderson).
There’s just one problem: these highly desirable jeans are literally killer, possessed by supernatural forces that give them a thirst for blood and a taste for vengeance.
We’ve seen killer beds, killer cars, and killer tires, but Slaxx offers us the world’s first film centered on killer denim.
Peter Strickland’s 2019 horror film In Fabric told a similar story about a haunted dress, but where Strickland’s film is all moody atmosphere and Italian giallo vibes, Slaxx embraces the inherent silliness of its premise. Not only does Slaxx offer up some absurdly bloody kills, but it layers in a thoughtful look at rise and grind corporate culture and the inherent toxicity of fast fashion. The film also skewers the virtue signaling of brands that employ less than ethical measures to make their products.
The beats are fairly predictable: employees get picked off one by one with no escape thanks to an all-store lockdown. And with a lean 77-minute runtime, the film doesn’t overstay its welcome. The real star of the show are the killer jeans themselves, animated via puppetry and green screen by Blood Brothers FX, the special effects company behind Turbo Kid, Blood Quantum, and Ravenous. The jeans walk, dance, bite, and strangle their way through victims while maintaining a surprising emotional range you wouldn’t expect to see in a pair of murder pants.
And while the film is supremely silly, the second half takes a surprisingly poignant turn when it focuses on the child labor and dangerous conditions behind the clothes we take for granted. Who knew such a goofy slasher flick could have such a strong humanitarian message? Slaxx isn’t perfect (honestly what is) but it’s an inventive and clever horror film that’s able to make you laugh and think.
Slaxx is currently streaming on Shudder.
(featured image: Bertrand Calmeau/Shudder)
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