Movies & TV

Slaxx : Some Thoughts

It’s just a B-Grade film, so maybe the haters should cut it some…slaxx.

Slaxx is a Canadian film that released directly to Shudder, the horror movie streaming service, around November of 2020. It tells the story of a possessed pair of jeans as it murders its way through the staff at a local clothing store. Obviously, I loved it.

I love film that is not only fun, but educational. Did you know that denim is made from cotton? I didn’t. My feeble little mind was blown apart when the opening scene gave us a glimpse into the origin story of the possessed cotton. I don’t know what I thought denim was before. As a lover of tracksuit pants, I guess I never really gave it much thought.

The aforementioned scene takes place in India, in an experimental field, known only as “Experimental Field 357”. It looks like they are working on some form of genetically modified super cotton. If the field number is anything to go by, this is just one of many such experiments being run by the Canadian Cotton Company. And I thought they were supposed to be nice.

Speaking of the CCC, that’s the main location of our film. It is a pretty impressive sized building, with a full warehouse out the back and a standard retail shop at the front. The team is decked out with pagers and headsets, mainly so super manager, Craig (AKA the Robot King) can keep everyone on task.

Craig has his work cut out for him, because today is launch day of the newest CCC collection, highlighted by the release of the Super Shaper jeans. More on those in a moment, I want to talk about how seriously the CCC takes launch day.

I’m not sure what time the movie starts, but it’s close to the end of a standard business day. One can assume that the staff have been working since at least 9am that morning, likely earlier. However, before they finish, they have to swap out all of the clothes in the store and have the new collection on display, ready to go by 8am the next morning. Fair enough, I’ve worked in retail before and done my fair share of new product drops.

It usually only takes a couple hours though. Even when I had to change an entire store, it would only take me and one colleague around 4 hours at most. CCC had an entire team and allocated the entire night! Not only that, but the team was literally locked in the store until 8am the following morning, when the store opened for business and they had to sell new product to the clients! That would make it a 36 hour shift. Surely that isn’t legal?

Also, they were literally locked in the store! They could not leave. They had no access to the internet. They couldn’t make any phone call. Heck, even the fire exits were locked up. What’s all that aboot? Sorry, I just really wanted to get that joke in.

One last note on the CCC. The company slogan reads “Make a better tomorrow today”. Shouldn’t that have a comma? Make a better tomorrow, today. That reads better. English is hard though and I’m not sure if I’m right.

Enough grammar. Let’s fast forward to the slaughter. Jemma, one of Craig’s insubordinates uses her sticky fingers to swipe a pair of the new Super Shapers. Jemma is clearly lacking in the intelligence department, because she decides to wear her recently stolen jeans in front of all of her co-workers. That was her first mistake. As she is slipping into them, she cuts her thumb open on the zipper. Number 2.

Blood seems to be the key ingredient that activates the murderous mindset of the deadly denim and it isn’t long before we see the end of Jemma. As the jeans slowly tighten around her waist, Jemma mistakenly (that’s number 3) identifies the pain as period cramps and heads to the restroom to “plug it up”.

Her final mistake reveals to us all what a psychopath she really is. She sits down on the toilet BEFORE she attempts to lower her pants. What an absolute monster. Unfortunately for Jemma, the jeans continue to tighten until she is split in half. You know what though? I’m glad the jeans killed her.

I honestly think the jeans were just trying to spare her the embarrassment of getting caught stealing company product. The jeans politely hid Jemma in a cupboard, removing any evidence of the murder and any evidence of theft. She may be dead, but at least she died with a clean record.

The Super Shapers are also super absorbent. They utilise this skill to clean up all of the blood and removing any trace of foul play. I guess Jemma didn’t need to worry about Aunt Flo’s visit after all.

Jemma’s corpse was eventually found by Libby, the annoying new girl. Libby reported the incident to her superior, Craig and he declared the cause of death to be suicide, in what was perhaps the funniest dialogue in the entire film. Jemma was literally torn in 2 pieces and stuffed into a cupboard and the man writes it up as a suicide. What a legend.

On the topic of dialogue, most of it was pretty hard to hear. I don’t know if everyone was mumbling or if it was just poorly recorded, but the film was hard to hear! I had to watch it a second time with subtitles to pick up on some things that I missed.

Another great conversation took place between Libby and Shruti. Shruti was a depressed and hate filled employee, so perhaps the most realistic interpretation of a retail employee in the entire film. Certainly the most relatable character for me and not just because we share the same heritage, which is what leads us back to the great conversation.

Schruti is Indian, so Libby decides the best way to introduce herself is to say “I love Bollywood music”. This lead to an argument about racial profiling and the revelation that Libby was completely unaware of the existence of the band Green Day. Is that even possible? No matter, turns out Schruti did love Bollywood music. It’s not racist if you’re right.

Back to the Super Shapers. They have the taste for blood now and are out for more. Hunter is next on the list. She is swiftly dispatched after the jeans cause her to stumble and impale her face on a coat hook. Awesome. The best murder was yet to come.

Insert Lord. Yup, that was his name. Lord found the jeans and went to put them back in to the warehouse, like a good employee. The Super Shapers had other plans though. After using some kind of mind powers on Lord, the jeans sliced his thumb off with the zipper. It then used it’s mouth (?) to bite off both of his hands, before finally slitting his throat with the zipper and hiding the pieces of his body in a box.

What made this murder so great was the performance of actor, Kenny Wong. Specifically, his screams. I’ve watched a lot of horror in my life. I’ve heard a lot of screams. Kenny Wong has possibly the most aesthetically pleasing screams I have ever heard in my life. My hat is off to you, sir.

Sadly, that is the last of the truly gory stuff we get to witness. We see one more girl get strangled by the jeans, but everything else happens off camera and we just get to see blood splatter on the walls. I don’t know if this was for monetary reasons, but the lack of blood in the second half of the film was disappointing.

Half of the fun of these kinds of movies is to see the creative ways of violence that the writers can come up with for an inanimate object. I love to see harmless objects turn into killing machines. Especially when it is an object you never imagined killing. Like jeans. It would have been great to see some of that on the screen!

In the movie Oldboy (the Korean one, I’m not uncultured) there was the iconic “hallway scene” that went on to inspire numerous imitations and even a video game. Well, Slaxx had a pretty darn good hallway scene in it’s own right.

A scene that featured the jeans using a mannequins body to dance to a Bollywood hit. It was some mighty fine dancing. The mannequin then used a severed hand to write the life story and motivations of the possessed jeans on the wall. I’m sure a pen would have been more efficient. No matter, the dancing was great.

The movie started to wrap up from here. Libby wanted to save the world and to tell the story of Keerat, the spirit possessing the jeans. Keerat wanted her story told and justice to be served. Craig just wanted to kill everyone so he was the only one left for the promotion.

Ultimately, nobody got what they wanted. Craig was eaten alive by a bunch of ravenous jeans. Libby had her head split open by a bunch of eager customers and presumably died. And Keerat unleashed a venegful army of denim on the unsuspecting masses.

This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but with a murderous army of super absorbent, super stretchy, super slimming, 100% cotton jeans.

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