|30 august 2023
Slotherhouse takes horrific comedy to new heights of absurdity with its unconventional premise and self-aware execution. Directed by Matthew Goodhue and written by Bradley Fowler, the film introduces us to Emily (Lisa Ambalavanar), a college senior looking to improve her popularity within the Sigma Lambda Theta sorority. What begins as a quest for social influence takes a bizarre turn when Emily adopts Alpha, a sloth with hidden, murderous intentions.
The film deftly explores the dangers of popularity and competition within a sorority. Emily's impulsive decision to make Alpha the sorority mascot sets the stage for a series of comically absurd events. The story unfolds with a mix of horror and humor, creating a unique visual experience that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats.
One of the film's strengths lies in its self-awareness and homage to classic horror conventions. The director and screenwriter incorporate references to iconic films such as Scream and Halloween, paying homage to the genre while infusing it with their own comic madness. The use of a wide aspect ratio and visual nods to horror classics adds a layer of sophistication to an otherwise ridiculous premise.
The practical effects, particularly the puppets that bring Alpha to life, deserve special mention. Without aiming for photorealism, the expressive animation captures the essence of the sloth's eccentric character. The decision to favor puppets over CGI contributes to the film's charm, aligning itself with the nostalgia of classic creature features.
However, Slotherhouse is not without its critics. For example, the film's tone is inconsistent, oscillating between a parody of horror conventions and an attempt at a more traditional slasher approach. The absence of explicit gore may disappoint those expecting a more intense, R-rated horror experience in the US. In addition, the film's focus on sorority drama, while serving as a backdrop, may seem less engaging compared to the more extravagant aspects of the lazy killer's story.
Slotherhouse nevertheless manages to carve out a place for itself in the landscape of successful horror comedies. The film's commitment to its absurdist concept, combined with moments of genuine creativity and homage to the horror genre, make for a highly enjoyable and memorable film. Without aiming for cinematic perfection, Slotherhouse delivers on its promise of an entertaining, offbeat horrific comedy that stands out from an already crowded genre. Above all, this film is a papable testament to the director's willingness to embrace the ridiculous, resulting in a film that is, in its own way, a delightful celebration of the bizarre. We can only recommend this memorably original film, which will make you see sloths in a whole new light.
Directed by Matthew Goodhue
Written by Bradley Fowler
Story by Bradley Fowler, Cady Lanigan
Produced by Cady Lanigan, Bradley Fowler, Mark David
Starring Lisa Ambalavanar, Sydney Craven, Olivia Rouyre, Bianca Beckles-Rose, Tiff Stevenson, Stefan Kapičić
Cinematography : Mark David
Edited by Mike Mendez, Matthew Goodhue
Music by Sam Ewing
Production companies : Renegade Studios Chicago, Cinema Relics Productions, Buffalo Speedway Film Co. Talking Wolf Productions
Distributed by Gravitas Ventures
Release date : August 30, 2023 (United States), February 12, 2024 (UK)
Running time : 93 minutes
Viewed on January 22, 2024 (screener press)