Within the genre, horror has always reveled in revealing the uncomfortable truths to its audience and unexpecting first timers. If horror has always been built on a foundation of shocking and horrifying the viewers, few things do that as effectively as the reality of the world. Sometimes this can be through the minimal realities that people experience every day or the terror that exists in the systems that “serve us”. However with undertaking these tasks takes a very careful hand so the message comes across clear and is taken seriously, something that Slaxx struggles with it being a film about killer pants and all.
Canadian Cotton Clothiers prides itself on not only being the front runner of what is fashionable, stylish, and top of the line clothing, but also about being eco-friendly, cruelty free, and all natural with all its products. At one of their locations they are receiving the newest edition to the collection that is going to revolutionize the market, the Super Shapers. Libby a new employee of CCC couldn’t be more excited to be preparing for this new release, but as the night progresses it becomes apparent that these new pants might not be a cruelty free as the rest of the clothing.
With a concept as out there as Slaxx one would expect the film to be goofy, silly, and full of bizarre horror movie gags and tropes but surprisingly there is a lot of restraint that lets the funnier moments get a bigger laugh. Where the film struggles though is in its attempt to tackle a very serious topic with a killer pants movie, that would have been possible in more delicate hands but is not executed well here. Where Get Out speaks out about heinous topics, while still having jokes to break up the heaviness, it is the execution that makes it work as oppose to making it feel tonally awkward like it does here.
Going hand in hand with the tonal issues, are the strange character choices that the film makes. Libby who is the lead, plays a idealistic young woman who looks up to the eco-friendly company that gets a hard dose of reality, which could have made for great character development but she is played so flat and forgettable. Especially compared to every side character that has some level of personality, Libby feels like a background character, all the way to the awkward ending that feels like a tonal mess.
There is so much to like in Slaxx from the excellent camera work and clever script, to the hilarious practical effects, but these are only the icing on a film that is deeply conflicted. This is a film that wants to revel in the 80s madness of an outlandish plot with fun gore gags but also wants to be deep and draw attention to a serious world problem and is creates a situation where neither works. It is well worth a watch and is fun for what it is but seeing the potential of what it could have been that makes for a disappointing experience.
6 out of 10