It’s the launch of the revolutionary ‘Super Shaper’ jeans at Canadian Cotton Clothiers, an aspirational high street fashion brand that definitely isn’t American Apparel. It has a cult-like corporate ethos, a pledge to be sustainable, ethical and fair trade, and has zen-like stores with products arranged by colour, like your weirdo friend does with their books.
The Super Shaper – with its alarming SS logo embroidered on the arse – promises to accentuate any person’s natural shape, leading you to assume this movie is about body image. Actually, it’s far more concerned with the global impact of fast fashion, showing the unsafe working conditions overseas that help the CCC get their must-have products to market. How does co-writer and director Elza Kephart communicate the intricacies of supply chains and corporate accountability? With killer pants. Crikey, Gromit.
Yes, the SS jeans, made of experimental genetically-modified cotton, can move and murder. As a satirical piece on corporate responsibility, Slaxx is creative, fun and smart. The CCC employees are sleazy and snooty, Romane Denis is believable as idealistic new girl Libby and the store in which the action takes place is a good parody of experiential, Apple Store-style ‘retail concepts’. The problem, sadly, is that the serious message is undermined by the sheer lunacy of a concept that makes Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes look like Apocalypse Now. There’s a reason no one has made a movie about murderpants before, not least murderpants that also dance to Bollywood music.
You will, no doubt, be able to suspend your sense of reason long enough to enjoy the set-up. The problem is that the film’s final act takes its taper-leg terror into pretty standard horror movie territory. There is, surely, an unwritten contract with the viewer that if they’re investing in a film about angry trousers you will keep things inventive to the end – and on that count, Slaxx fails.
Ironically, a film genuinely about American Apparel would have proven more horrific. With the multiple sexual assault allegations against founder Dov Charney and multiple accounts of the toxic work environment, he’s a considerably more frightening villain than the dancing pants.
- Director: Elza Kephart
- Starring: Romane Denis, Brett Donahue, Sehar Bhojani
- Release date: March 19 (Shudder)