Slaxx follows a young woman, Libby (Romane Denis), who gets her dream job at a clothing store that boasts sustainability and fair trade. When a pair of pants from the new line come alive and begin murdering the staff, the woman must discover the reason behind the possessed pants rampage in order to stop it.
If you couldn't tell by the synopsis, Slaxx is a new horror comedy exclusively on Shudder. Not even making it to a 90-minute runtime, this movie doesn't try to stretch any of its content further than it needs to go and doesn't dwell on its message longer than it needs to. This film knows what it is, meant to deliver some gross-out laughs on the way to hopefully leaving an impactful message on the way out. And to that end, Slaxx succeeds.
Despite the premise, Slaxx takes itself more seriously at times than expected. It occasionally hits a wall of somber realism to the message it intends to send. While that message is unnecessarily heavy-handed at times, especially in the waning moments of the film, it stands as a great voice for something that isn't tackled for the entirety of a movie too often.
The acting and writing are about what you expect. There's heavy over-acting, especially of the caricature variety, and several of the quips could have used a rewrite or a few more takes to get the delivery right. But you work with what you got. The film is clearly letting the horror gags carry the show, and those are often enough that you stay entertained.
The lighthearted nature of the killer pants is matched by the creative ways in which the pants are set in motion throughout the film. The blend of practical and special effects to make things happen make for a fun piece, even if the graphics are a little cartoony at times. I appreciated this film's ingenuity to move the pants in fun ways and giving them life and character throughout the movie. The maximum effort makes the movie work.
The plot covers enough ground to give legitimate weight to the message on fair trade and the deception of popular buzz words placed on seemingly every product in the United States. It can feel a little strong given that we're talking about killer pants, in such a way that it feels like an awkward blend. The message is real and solemn, but the gags are whacky. The goofiness cheapens the message and the message drowns the humor sometimes. It's not enough to ruin it, but it does muddle the final product.
Slaxx is no masterpiece, not even in the realm of low-budget horror-comedies. It relies heavily on its audience enjoying the horror gags and latching onto the voice, and prefers its characters coast on the surface, spout their lines like satires of themselves, and move through the flesh-eating pant gauntlet. The fodder on display has enough critique for those that have worked in retail to get a little catharsis along the way, and that's easy to appreciate. At such a minimal commitment under 90 minutes, Slaxx is worth a bowl of popcorn with a couple of friends.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 8/10
Horror Quality: 6/10
Film Quality: 4/10