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SLAXX Review – Denim Justice Runs Wild

Julia Straub says Slaxx is a delightfully amusing story of humanitarianism and revenge.

Jessica B. Hill and Kenny Wong in SLAXX (2020), co-written by Patricia Gomez Zlatar and directed by Elza Kephart.
Courtesy of Shudder, AMC Networks

Co-writer and director Elza Kephart, with Patricia Gomez, explore an assortment of comedic tropes in the horror comedy, Slaxx. The film features bright lights and colorful, visually pleasing cinematography. It reads like satire, centering on a possessed pair of killer jeans. However, this enjoyable film has an underlying social commentary to hold it together.

Slaxx follows the employees of a trendy eco-conscious clothing store, the Canadian Cotton Company. Libby (Romane Denis) eagerly navigates her first day on the job as her creepily upbeat boss (Brett Donahue) prepares the store for a special new line of pants. Unbeknownst to her, a possessed pair of jeans is running loose, subjecting Libby’s coworkers to violent deaths. It's up to Libby to stop its bloody rampage.

Steve Asselin's stunning cinematography grabs our attention with vibrant colors that contrast with the store's modern white interior and accentuate the perfectly rigid organization of the clothing racks. His images are just as methodical, with tightly symmetrical angles not often seen in most horror films. The trendy, upbeat music by Delphine Mesaroch speaks to the film’s vibe. When things go awry, the lighting and colors dim to a dull tone to ooze suspense and dread for audiences. Aesthetically, Slaxx is captivating, engaging the eye at every moment.

SLAXX (2020), co-written by Patricia Gomez Zlatar and directed by Elza Kephart.
Courtesy of Shudder, AMC Networks

Kephart and Gomez deliver a distinct comedic style that works unexpectedly well, and their attempts at humor are earnest. It's as though everyone knows the plot is ridiculous, but instead of overcompensating, the cast and crew lean into the absurdity of the situation. The over-the-top performances of the cast aid the film's humorous tone. One scene features a social media influencer, Peyton Jules (Erica Anderson), hired to promote the company's new clothing line. Anderson is so exaggerated in her portrayal of a spoiled and vapid internet star that it's hard not to chuckle. The film's comedic essence occasionally shines through one-liners and a murderous pair of jeans randomly dancing to music.

Slaxx crucial social commentary doesn't get lost in the comedy. Everyone is eager to release the new apparel, but it is produced from the sweat and tears of children working in unsafe conditions. One of the overworked children, a young girl, tragically dies in a machinery accident. This shocks Libby, as the company prides itself on its non-GMO and non-exploitative production line. Kephart and Comez explore themes of overconsumption, corporate greed, and child labor.

Despite several American companies signing agreements to end child labor in their production of goods, many have continued the practice. If you've ever had a chocolate chip cookie made with Nestlé morsels, chances are, you have eaten cocoa farmed with the help of child labor. Nestlé has a long list of unethical practices, including using slave and child labor. At the very least, Slaxx should get audiences thinking about what corporations they support with their purchases.

Slaxx perfectly balances humor and overconsumption, complemented by its cinematography and score. It's delightfully bizarre. While Kephart doesn’t explore its themes too deeply, the message is clear. Regardless of how responsible companies claim to be, consumers can't be sure of what happens behind the scenes.

Slaxx is now streaming on Shudder and available on demand from other digital platforms.



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