It’s the night before a trendy fashion outlet launches its new line and everyone is required to be on hand to help restock the store with the brand new product. What’s the product? Why it’s a pair of jeans that forms perfectly to your body type giving you the best possible shape that anyone could ever hope to have. They’re stylish, slimming, sexy and sentient. That’s right, due to the power of “Do you care why?” the jeans are alive and hungry for blood and they’re going to start with the fashion store workers and the high paid influencers, as all jeans-based murder sprees should!
For a movie that’s about a pair of jeans that kill, Slaxx is so much more fun and cleverer than it has any right to be. The entire message behind the film revolves around consumer culture, from the very first second we’re in a hyper-reality mocking those high-end fashion stores with a glorious precision that will mostly be appreciated by anybody who’s had a service industry job. It’s vulgar and over the top and doesn’t even try to be subtle… and why should it? It’s a film about jeans that kill, I’m not expecting high class here.
Slaxx also tackles fast fashion, namely that the only way we can get 15 dollar pants is if some poor person is worked almost to death. Again, it’s not subtle about this and the imagery used to convey this message is so blunt it might as well just be a title card describing the atrocities of slave labour, but it works because (and I will repeat this point often during this review) this film doesn’t give a single damn about subtlety.
Slaxx is the kind of film that knows what you’re here for and gives it to you as quickly and efficiently as it can. I put on a movie about killer jeans, I would like to see a pair of jeans kill someone creatively and within about 15 minutes I’ve got what I asked for. By 45 minutes I had so much of what I asked for that I was stunned that the movie wasn’t over… and at that point, the film goes “OK, now you’ve got what you wanted, let me do whatever the hell I want to do” and goes off and does a Bollywood number.
It might feel weird to say that a film like this would suddenly have a pair of jeans dance to Bollywood music but the entire tone of Slaxx is so exaggerated that it works surprisingly well. Everything is gloriously over the top, from the performances to the kills, that the film could’ve done anything and made it work. It knows what it is, it’s not trying to be anything other than that… I mean, except for the heavy message in the second half.
The part of Slaxx that really leans into the “Here is what sucks about the fast fashion industry” idea is the part that might not work for some. I mean, I enjoyed that they gave the jeans a real backstory and a reason to exist but I also realise that “They gave the jeans a backstory” is a level of glorious stupidity that might be a bridge too far, plus the backstory is both comedic and horrific and toes the line of good taste.
Then again, do you really want a horror film to be in good taste? Once we have people being dismembered and eaten alive by a pair of pants the question of taste does tend to feel a bit stupid. The film seems to get that no one can take it seriously so it shouldn’t try too hard, leading to characters having frank discussions about menstruation or body image… frank, sometimes shocking but weirdly hilarious.
Slaxx, and I say this with all the love in the world, is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever sat through and I loved every second of it. I asked for killer jeans, they gave me exactly that and then gave me every possible iteration on that idea. It felt like it was over in no time, the pace is sublime and the effects work is just brilliant.
Can you spend time thinking about some of the more complex adult ideas that this film offers about how we treat workers who work for almost nothing for us to have cheap clothing? Sure you can, and you absolutely should because that’s an important thing to think about… but if you just want to laugh your ass off at a very silly movie where a bunch of denim devours dozens of delicious department store denizens then this is the exact movie that you need to see.
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