Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Slaxx – review

Director: Elza Kephart

Release date: 2020

Contains spoilers

I didn’t sit down to watch Slaxx with the view of viewing it as a vampire film, it just looked like a fun watch. It became clear, however, that it can be viewed as such on a couple of levels. This necessitates a broad view of what a vampire is, of course, but the tropes are there.

When I mention a couple of levels, one is within the primary subject of the film – a pair of homicidal possessed jeans but the other true vampire of the film is the company, the commercial entity and, of course, I will explore both in the review.

picking cotton

We start in India and Keerat (Pritha Mazumdar), a young girl, is picking cotton. The crop is designated “Experimental Field 357” and is owned by Canadian Cotton Clothiers. We move from there to see a box, labelled with the company name being delivered to the stock area of a store. It contains jeans with a distinctive “SS” logo (standing for Super Shapers), which are placed into storage as a sign reminds workers that “employee theft hurts us all”.

store worker

CCC as the company is known is a clothing chain that prides themselves on the fact that they use fair trade, organic produce, that they are ethical and espouse a view to their staff that they are a family. They are the sort of store that calls an area of the shopfloor an ecosystem and expects their staff to display a certain (and insincere) attitude, whilst wearing this season’s line. I previously looked at the vampire tropes used in the film In Fabric and whilst the stores are very different (one classical 70s the other very modern) beneath the surface they are very similar.

Romane Denis as Libby

Into the store comes Libby (Romane Denis), a fan of both the store and the philosophy of founder Harold Landsgrove (Stephen Bogaert); she is a new hire and this is her first day. A store worker (who is one of the few staff who doesn’t display the sickly cult-like attitude expected by CCC), Shruti (Sehar Bhojani), takes her through to see store manager Craig (Brett Donahue), in turn he sends her to see Hunter (Jessica B. Hill, Being Human (US)) who has no time for the new hire. Eventually she finds herself having to buy a new wardrobe as her clothes are last season, without staff discount (it starts the next day).

the first kill

Meanwhile Jemma (Hanneke Talbot, Rabid) has taken a pair of the new jeans and puts them on. As she does the zipper she catches her finger – this feels very much like the accidental cut in a standard vampire movie that resurrects the undead. There is a staff meeting to tell the team that Harold is coming to the store to launch the new line but Jemma gets cramps (she believes an early period) and goes to the bathroom. In a stall the jeans squeeze to eviscerate her and a panel in the “SS” logo turns red. Unfortunately the staff are locked in until the launch in the morning.

the jeans dance as Shruti sings

So we have a killer pair of jeans. As the story unfolds we discover that the cotton was GM (used for profits), the cotton is one that is meant to mould to the wearers body shape, though that is not really explored as part of the lore. Once Libby discovers that the jeans like Bollywood music and (after giving itself a mannequin head and torso) wears a bindi, the pieces start to come together and they eventually discover that the jeans are possessed by Keerat, who was a child labourer and died in an industrial accident. Keerat is after justice and/or revenge.

lapping blood

Why vampire? Well, the jeans are specifically after blood it seems. We see them ‘lapping’ blood from the floor and when they awaken other pairs, they do so with blood also. However, the jeans may be vampiric clothing (and represent a form of vampiric possession) but the bigger vampire is the company itself. Certainly immoral and dishonest about its trading practices and how it treats supplying labour, the expectations of its store staff is cult-like (bringing Hammer’s cult of the vampire to mind) and through influencers they try and embroil consumers into that cult.

death of an influencer

This was fun. Perhaps not as artistic or involved as the aforementioned In Fabric, this is a slasher at heart but with a nice lore that uses vampire tropes and a healthy cynicism about consumer culture. 6 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

On Demand @ Amazon US

On Demand @ Amazon UK

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