Monday, November 29, 2021

The Sisterhood of the Murdering Pants

There is no such thing as a bad concept for a horror film. A killer bed movie is just as valid in theory as a haunted VHS tape. It all comes down to execution and what's being done with said inanimate object of terror.

Yes, Slaxx is the killer pants movie. Allow me to slip into the changing room and see how it fits.

Quick Plot: Libby is living the millennial dream with her new highly coveted job: stocking the flagship Canadian Cotton Clothiers (CCC) store overnight for the grand launch of Super Shapers, an innovative design of jeans that will automatically adapt to your body for the most flattering fit. Plus, CCC helps you feel good about shopping! They're ethically sourced, non-GMO produced, and all the other buzzwords you've heard used on any company that advertises via podcasts.

As always, there's a drawback, and in this case, it's more than a $100+ price tag. The jeans, well, you know...want to wrap themselves around your torso and rip you in half.

But like, they're REALLY flattering to all body types!

At just 77 minutes long, Slaxx is incredibly self-aware about what it needs to do and what it should avoid. This is a killer pants movie. There are expectations.

I'm being fairly serious. You don't make a horror film out of such a silly concept unless you have a real plan, and it's clear from her self-assured direction that Elza Kephart and cowriter Patricia Gomez understood exactly how far to go on all counts. This is definitely a horror comedy, and one with some not-so-subtle satire fully loaded in each thread.

I'm not nearly as well-versed or responsible about it as I'd like to be, but fast fashion is a real issue in terms of its environmental footprint (or stomping, as it were) and morality of where these super low-priced and fast-shipped pieces that fall apart after two washes come from. I have no problem in the least with Slaxx tackling it.

Thankfully, Slaxx knows that homicidal bottoms are going to be silly, and the film has plenty of fun with the absurdity of its premise. But mixed in is, I kid you know, a real human story about the things we look past in order to look good.

Also, and perhaps more importantly to a lot of viewers: it's good! The cast has pop, the settings is so terrifyingly American Apparel that it hurts, and the story moves with the same speed as rotating fashion seasons. There's a nice relief when Libby brings the truth to her more skeptical coworker Shruti. Any other film would have at least a scene in between where Shruti rolls her eyes before seeing it for herself, but in the case of Slaxx, Libby shows her some video and Shruti is instantly on her team with ideas about how to tackle it. 

Efficiency is important in film, and nowhere more so than horror AND comedy. Kephart clearly has great instincts about how to tell her story in a dynamic, well-paced way. I look forward to seeing more. 

High Points
It's a small detail, and odd to harp on it when there are so many other great things about Slaxx, but in the internet age, I have to commend a film set in the modern era that finds such a perfect solution to cell phone failure. There's an all-night lockdown in place for the new product launch, with a brief window of escape at 1AM and then the full re-opening at 8. The rules are laid out clearly, our characters know them, and thus, we're not stuck saying "but can't they--" as the restless, oh-so-smart audience. Nope. They can't. Find another solution

Low Points
I love the idea that the ultimate villains of Slaxx are mid-level store managers with dumb ambitions, but if there was a place to expand the very short Slaxx, I suppose it could have been here. There might have been a way to say more about this minute branch of capitalism and how it connects to the deeper crimes happening at the source of production

Lessons Learned
Employee discounts come at a very high cost

Seasons move much faster in the world of ethical retail

Communism is when you're all equal, but not really

Slaxx will likely not please everybody, but I adored it. It's fresh, it's now, it has something to say, and has a whole lot of poignant fun saying it. Check it out on Shudder. 


  1. By FAR the best killer pants movie I've seen this year!
    (though I wish those two characters had made it out alive)

    1. Oddly enough, because it's so short, I'm okay with the downbeat ending. It somehow feels fitting with keeping it all so tight and concise!

    2. Oh yeah, I'm fine with it too. I just liked those two.
      What does strike me, now, is that the 'dancing pants' scene won't be as cute/funny during a second watch... knowing the truth behind the situation renders it much sadder.

  2. I watched this after reading your review. I liked it! Despite being very political, I didn't mind because the film never took itself too seriously and was a lot of fun throughout. I admit I'm terribly biased in favour of the subject matter though because I feel like fast fashion, slave labour, and greenwashing are topics that don't get anywhere near enough press.

    Also, I loved almost all of the acting performances here. Very funny, very well done. Oh and the pants inability to NOT dance when Indian dance music came on killed me. Loved those moves. And I liked the unhappy ending! So cheers for the recommendation.