There are some movies that are so absurd and bizarre, that we can’t help but be intrigued by them. And a movie about a killer sloth is certainly one of them. Slotherhouse toys with many genres, and offers up a slasher/animal attack movie not to miss. It’s utterly ridiculous. But what do you expect when you tune into a horror comedy movie with an agile, acrobatic, highly intelligent, and incredibly strong sloth, slaughtering an entire sorority house in the most hilarious ways possible? By the trailer and synopsis alone, you know exactly what to expect.
While Slotherhouse undoubtedly has a few issues, mainly some weird dialogue (which would be horrendously awkward elsewhere but actually kind of fits in this campy film), Slotherhouse is at the end of day one of the most entertaining flicks of 2023.
Throughout the past decade, we have seen some pretty outlandish and ridiculous animal attack movies. Take the likes of Sharknado, Lake Placid, Piranha 3D, and of course this year’s Cocaine Bear (and that’s not even including the Winnie the Pooh horror movie). However, there are few as over-the-top as Slotherhouse. Even if you happen to dislike it, it’s still arguably unlike anything you’ve seen before. If you were intrigued by the movie’s trailer and synopsis, you will not be disappointed. But nothing will truly prepare you for how far Slotherhouse delves into insanity.
“It’s a Slotherhouse”
Slotherhouse begins in the stunning and tranquil jungles of Panama, where we meet our adorable little serial killer, Alpha (who gets its name later on in the film) for the first time. Alpha is hanging on to a tree branch above a river as she attempts to reach a leaf to snack on, but that’s all before she gets snatched out of the tree by a hungry alligator, which she quickly kills and continues on her day.
Sadly, Alpha gets shot in the back with a tranquilizer dart by some poachers before being shipped of to the USA. There we meet a sorority girl named Emily Young (Lisa Ambalavanar), who runs into an exotic animal seller who eventually sells Alpha to Emily in order to boost her social media followers in an attempt to make her a sorority president. It isn’t long before Alpha starts his slaughter spree, killing numerous sorority sisters in very creative and impressive ways. Especially for a sloth.
An Adorable Killer
Alpha is perhaps the most adorable serial killer ever seen in the horror genre, which isn’t really saying much. But his cuteness deserves much praise. Opting to use a practical build-a-bear type prop for Alpha was a genius move, as it not only makes the movie instantly more entertaining, but also offers a more endearing and unrealistic sloth which makes his ridiculous murder spree a little more acceptable. Plus it has the added benefit of selling merchandise.
These kills aren’t necessarily brutal, but they are undoubtedly impressive. Throughout the movie, audiences will see Alpha kill sorority sisters with a shower loofah, a sleeping bag, amidst stuff animals, and more. To make Alpha even more terrifying, he even picks up a samurai sword and suffocates a hospitalized victim with a pillow. Alpha has zero morality.
Although there are plenty of kills, the movie does lack a lot of gore. Though, compared to a movie like 2023s M3GAN, which was critiqued for not leaning into the visceral horror, Slotherhouse does shed a few more pints of blood, but not as much as many may have expected.
The movie does push the boundaries of what sloths and pretty much any other animal is capable of doing. Somehow, Alpha has the speed of a gazelle, and the ability to take selfies and post them online, as well as drive a car. In any other movie this would have felt too far gone, however, it works well in a movie like Slotherhouse that embraces the stupidity. At one point, Alpha pops a beer before chugging it. He really has leaned into that college lifestyle.
Gut-Busting Humor and Visual Flair
If we’re all being honest with ourselves, we’re only here for one thing, and that is some over-the-top killer sloth action. However, there is still plenty here that comes as a huge surprise. For one, the movie is pretty funny. And not in a “so bad it’s good” type of way. The movie knows exactly what it is.
Slotherhouse never pretends to be elevated horror, refusing to masquerade as a film with strong characters and emotional story beats, and instead offers a fast-paced, gut-busting, and of course ridiculous motion picture that filmmaker Matthew Goodhue, and writers Cady Lanigan and Bradley Fowler gleefully lean into. Along with the absurd kills and infectious energy, there are a few jokes that really land here.
Another huge surprise is the film’s style and visuals. When a new character is introduced, a small window with that character’s social media bio will pop up, giving audiences a memorable description of that character. Of course, when a character is receiving a text or scrolling through social media, it will pop up on-screen showing what they are doing, and that aspect still feels gimmicky and has been done to death. But the character bios are a fun addition.
A Slasher With a Message
Embedded between all the carnage and murder is an unexpected message on poaching, and taking wild animals out of their natural habitats, along with a vicious critique of social media. It’s a very important message which we didn’t expect to find hidden beneath all the sloth mayhem, and it comes across well, as the film is anything but preachy.
Slotherhouse’s message does somewhat elevate the movie slightly more than just a brainless 90-minute animal attack/slasher movie with a killer sloth. It’s a message we are all pretty versed in, but it’s great to see Slotherhouse lean down that road, even if most of us are just here for the cute, cuddly killer.
From Gravitas Ventures, Slotherhouse is in theaters on Aug. 30. You can find more information and showtimes at the Slotherhouse website.