Movies Review

Slotherhouse Review

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Arrow in the Head reviews the new nature run amok horror comedy Slotherhouse, coming to theatres this Wednesday

PLOT: As part of her quest to become president of her sorority house, Emily adopts a three-toed sloth and makes it the house mascot. Unfortunately for her and her sorority sisters, this sloth is a homicidal maniac.

REVIEW: There are so many “nature run amok” movies out there, particularly shark thrillers and killer croc (or gator) flicks, they can be easy to overlook and pass by. But every once in a while, something will be intriguing enough to stand out from the pack. 47 Meters Down, The Shallows, The Meg, Crawl, Cocaine Bear, etc. The latest to stand out from the pack, with both its title and concept, is director Matthew Goodhue’s Slotherhouse. A movie that mixes together the nature run amok and sorority house slasher sub-genres to very entertaining effect… and may be the first killer sloth movie. It’s difficult to believe we’ve never gotten a killer sloth before, but I can’t think of another one off the top of my head.

Written by Bradley Fowler from a story he crafted with Cady Lanigan, Slotherhouse centers on Sigma Lambda Theta sorority sister Emily (Lisa Ambalavanar), who is tired of living under the rule of her wealthy, social media influencer house president Brianna (Sydney Craven) and is considering running against her in the new election. Problem is, Emily is substantially less popular than Brianna is. But after a chance encounter with a guy called O Exotic (Stefan Kapicic), Emily thinks she has found a way to gain popularity, because O Exotic is offering to sell her an adorable three-toed sloth. Emily takes the deal, wins a vote to make the sloth the house mascot, names the sloth Alpha, and announces her intention to run for house president.

Slotherhouse review

Before Emily has even moved Alpha into the sorority house, viewers are aware this sloth is more dangerous than expected. The film begins with Alpha being attacked by a crocodile but emerging from the water unscathed. The same can’t be said for the crocodile. Then we see her do some damage to O Exotic, who puts on a front of being a nice guy but is actually a scumbag poacher. Once in the sorority house, Alpha doesn’t wait long before she starts knocking off sorority sisters. While Emily, Brianna, and the other residents focus on the election, Alpha is focusing on whittling down the number of girls in the house.

How exactly does a killer sloth movie work? Well, Goodhue and the writers had to make this slow-moving creature more agile than you would expect – but they also make Alpha much more intelligent and capable of getting around in the modern world than the average sloth. This is a creature that can use laptops and smart phones, and even drive a car. She can kill a sorority girl in the house and dispose of the body without anyone realizing what’s going on (and she does this on multiple occasions). I would have preferred if we had gotten to see how Alpha is gradually able to develop these abilities, but that’s not the case. The first time she’s left alone in Emily’s room, she makes her way over to her new owner’s laptop and purposely checks out her Instagram profile.

Obviously we’re not supposed to take anything about Alpha seriously, but my main issue with the movie was the fact that she’s such an advanced being and yet the movie isn’t clear about her motivations. She hates O Exotic, that’s understandable. But why does she go on to kill so many sorority girls who love her and fawn over her all the time? Wanting to get back to her jungle home in Panama could be a motivation, but in that case she should leave Emily’s friend Madison (Olivia Rouyre) off her hit list, because Madison is very vocally anti-poaching and is demanding that Emily get Alpha sent back home from the moment her friend brings the sloth into the sorority house. But Madison gets attacked just like everyone else in the house. I may be overthinking a horror comedy about a killer sloth, but I do believe Slotherhouse would have been even better if the script had shown her developing her abilities and/or was more clear about what exactly Alpha wants out of life.

Slotherhouse review

As it is, it’s still a fun viewing experience. All of the actors playing the many girls in the sorority – which includes Bianca Beckles-Rose as Emily’s friend Zenny, Tiff Stevenson as house mother Ms. Mayflower, and Kelly Reiter from the shark thriller Maneater – do fine work in their roles, and the film moves along at a good pace. I also really appreciated that the filmmakers chose to bring Alpha to the screen with puppetry instead of CGI. And this homicidal puppet is adorable in every single moment she’s on screen, even when she’s murdering people.

Most viewers will know whether or not they want to see Slotherhouse as soon as they see the title and hear the concept. I know this was an instant “must-see” for me. I was going to watch it regardless of the quality – but while there could have been some improvements made, it was still a much better movie than I was expecting it to be. If you have even the slightest interest in Slotherhouse, I encourage checking it out, because you might be as pleasantly surprised as I was.

Gravitas Ventures and Iconic Events Releasing are giving Slotherhouse a theatrical release on August 30th.

Arrow in the Head reviews the new nature run amok horror comedy Slotherhouse, coming to theatres this Wednesday

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