How can you tell when a movie stands out and really works? For me, one of the things that makes a movie stand out is its ability to have a message and still not lose itself too much in conveying the message that the movie feels like a PSA. Does a movie need a message for it to be good to me? No, not at all. But if it does have a message, I should still be able to enjoy my time with it if I want to disconnect from the message presented—Slaxx definitely achieves that.
At its core, Slaxx is a fun, quirky slasher that bleeds that indie slasher cheese that I crave. On the other side of it, Slaxx has an important message about consumerism, corporate greed, “ethical” practices, and how corporations rely on and contribute to the public having a negative body image of themselves to sell their product.
Slaxx is written by Patricia Gomez and Elza Kephart and directed by Elza Kephart (Go in the Wilderness). It stars Romane Denis (Slut in a Good Way), Brett Donahue (Private Eyes), Sehar Bhojani (The Handmaid’s Tale), and Stephen Bogaert (The Umbrella Academy).
Let me just start this off by saying that Slaxx is a movie about killer jeans—yes, killer jeans. I know it sounds a little weird (Rubber, anyone?), and to be honest, it is. But you know what? It works, and, if anything, the jeans are a very cheeky representation of our inner consumerist tendencies being the death of us. That’s what I found while watching Slaxx, though—our fascination with keeping up with what’s cool or trendy will be our ultimate downfall.
Slaxx starts off with the new hire, Libby (Romane Denis), showing up for her first day of work. Very quickly you notice that everybody seems to be a little…robotic. At least that’s what I drew from it. Everyone around Libby is so self-absorbed and no-nonsense that it sort of feels like a cult in a way—slaves to the corporate greed that turns out to be the ultimate antagonist in this movie. The only person that seems somewhat normal when compared to everyone else is Shruti (Sehar Bhojani). She and Libby sort of form a relationship, but it isn’t until a pivotal moment that I won’t spoil that they really get together.
I will say that Brett Donahue, who plays Craig, does a very impressive job of being a physical representation of how a corporation doesn’t care about you—they only pretend to. There’s a scene where he and Libby are…disposing of a body they found and Libby is clearly distraught, while Craig just doesn’t want it to get out because it’d ruin the launch of their new product. He even goes as far as to bribe Libby into keeping her mouth shut about it, and guess what Libby does? She accepts. I think that’s just as important of a message. Most people, if given compensation, are easily bought.
Slaxx also isn’t afraid to call out these so-called “ethical” practices being the sole driving factor for these corporate marketing campaigns as being fallacious and even being a straight-up lie, and they’re right. Too many times do we let companies dictate our emotions over things that they either make up or things they bend the truth about. We need to hold these companies accountable for the way they pander to our compassion with their inability to convey it themselves in an honest way.
Now, let’s get to how Slaxx is without focusing on the message. It’s self-aware, comedic, cheeky, gory, and ultimately fun to watch. If it was only a slasher movie and you threw out the important messages that it presents, it still works as its own movie. The acting can be over the top, but I fully believe that it was done on purpose to really lean into the idea that, well, jeans are killing people.
That brings me to the jeans themselves—they’re great. The way the jeans slither around or walk is something that put a smile on my face throughout the duration of my viewing. They’re like Denim Jaws in the best possible way. The kills are gory, the effects are well-done, and the jeans remind me of Hollow Man.
Does that mean that Slaxx doesn’t have issues? No, it has a few things that could’ve been better. Most notably, the production quality overall is as solid as a rock, but there are a few times where, I’m not sure if it was a lighting issue, but something felt off about the shot. It’s not enough to pull you out from the experience, but if that’s something you pay attention to, you might feel the same way I did at least a few times while you watch.
Another thing to mention is that it’s a tad bit on the shorter side. Slaxx clocks in at under 80 minutes, so it’s definitely short, but it’s also a pretty smooth, clean watch. I do think they could’ve expanded on the jeans’ backstory a little more, as that was a pretty moving idea to me, but I don’t think I’d knock the movie too much for not doing so. I don’t want anyone to feel like since it’s under 80 minutes that it’s a rushed experience because it’s not—they fit in what is necessary, and they don’t overly hang on any particular shot or scene.
With all of this being said, is Slaxx worth your time? I’d say it definitely is. I had a very good amount of fun with it. It’s a nice, cheesy slasher flick I can throw on if I want to have a fun time, or it can be a full experience if I want to focus on the small details. It has a strong message, a strong cast, and a surprisingly strong pair of jeans doing the dirty work.
I love when movies do something different and aren’t afraid to be goofy or suspend the viewers’ perception of reality to have a little fun. I can tell that this was a fun project to be a part of and that the cast had a fun time making this work—because it does work.
Slaxx is available to stream on Shudder starting March 18th.