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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Slotherhouse (2023)

When I saw the trailer for Slotherhouse show up online I was sold. Sure, the concept of a killer sloth was absurd, and the movie looked like it was going to be completely silly, but sometimes absurd and silly is what I want. So, is that what I got?

The movie opens in the rainforest where we see a sloth above the water when a crocodile jumps from the water and snatches it off the low hanging tree branch. Blood flows to the surface and the sloth crawls out of the river. Soon after it is tranquilized and taken away. Then we see a college girl who we later find out is named Emily, saving a puppy from getting squished. A nearby man introduces himself and finding that she is an animal lover gives her his card. He is an exotic pet dealer. When Emily decides to run for president of her sorority, she needs a hook to get everyone’s attention. She decides to buy a sloth from the dealer… uh oh.

Of course it is the killer sloth who is medicated so not as homicidal as earlier with the crocodile. Though not well enough as we see it murder the pet guy before Emily arrives. Initially the sloth, that they name Alpha, is chill. Though that changes when it sees a selfie that Emily took with the dealer. From that point on the sloth goes full on murder machine. It begins picking off the girls and then uses their phones to take selfies and create cover stories as to where they have gone. Yeah, the sloth is using their phones! But that makes total sense since later it steals Emily’s car to finish off a girl who made it to the hospital! I did say this movie was absurd. Eventually there is a final battle between our heroine and the murderous sloth.

Catching some rays!
I love this movie. It is a perfect blend of horror tropes and comedy. It is basically a slasher flick with the mostly unkillable murderer being a sloth rather than a guy in a mask. We see it stalk it’s victims only to seemingly pop up for the final jump scare and kill. Remember how it always seems that the killer is slowly moving towards the soon to be victims and you wonder how they always catch them? Slotherhouse doubles down on that by having that slow moving killer be an actual sloth! The characters even mention how fast the sloth is despite us never seeing it move at anything other than a glacial pace. When I saw the trailer I wondered if it was just going to be a gimmick, but the writers put a lot of effort into being clever. It makes for a very funny watch.

There are a lot of kills in Slotherhouse, though many of them are offscreen. If you are looking for a lot of creative kills and gore this likely isn’t the movie for you. Many of the kills are played for laughs, but that fits with this movie much better than over the top kills and gore would have. We get a girl getting roofied by the sloth and slashed to death. There is also death by loofa, a mass killing during a hazing ritual in the shower, and a stabbing of the house mother who has enough time to express her regrets at a wasted life. The movie also has a murder montage that covers the couple of weeks where the sloth was killing and hiding his victims. Death by gravity, curiling iron, stuffed animals, and scissors to the face. The best part is when Alpha decides to send all the selfies she took to Emily to terrorize her at the end of the movie. #LastSelfie… Normally I don’t dig the social media crap in my horror movies as I’m an old fart. But I’ll be damned is this shit isn’t funny as hell.

Death by loofa
The sloth is brought to the screen without CGI but with puppetry. Does this limit them being able to show the sloth walking around a bit? Yes it does and for me that only adds to the charm. Despite being a puppet, the sloth has a lot of personality and I give credit to the director as well as the performer in making that happen. If you have spent much time here on the site you know that I’m all about monsters in suits, rubber or otherwise. The effort put into making this a practical effect already was in my wheelhouse, but doing it so well made me love this movie even more!

The filmmakers also decided to toss in some references for movie nerds. You have the Psycho music playing during a shower attack, the sloth ends up out the window and splayed on the ground only to be gone the next time Emily looks down at the grass ala Halloween. We even get an Empire Strikes Back “I know” gag! Seriously man if I haven’t convinced you to check out Slotherhouse yet I don’t know what else I can do. This is one of the best movies I’ve watched this year and will definitely make my top ten list in January. It is streaming on Hulu and is available for purchase from most of the big retailers. Buy a copy and get yourself ready for some laughs.


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

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