SLOTHERHOUSE Review: A Slowpoke Slasher Slays Sorority Sisters
One would be forgiven for stepping into a film titled Slotherhouse with incredibly low expectations. The title and gimmick of the film – mass murdering sloth takes out an entire sorority – doesn’t exactly conjure visions of the masters, and frankly, the world of trash horror is so inundated with similarly themed no-budget junk, that I wouldn’t even blame a body for skipping it altogether. However, horror comedy fans with broad minds would do well not to look past this kitschy gem, Slotherhouse is not at all what you’re expecting, this killer really has claws.
Emily (Lisa Ambalavanar) is a milquetoast sorority gal at Sigma Lambda Theta, an elite house with an even more elite sisterhood. Ruled over with an iron fist by chapter president Brianna (Sydney Craven), Sigma house is due for regime change, and Emily thinks she’s the woman to take the helm. After she accidentally adopts an adorable sloth – quickly christened Alpha – who becomes the house mascot, Emily’s stock rises quickly. Alpha becomes Insta-famous, Emily’s clout-conscious sorority sisters take notice, and she’s off to the races.
It’s not all fun and games at the house though, as the sisters start to die in increasingly violent and mysterious ways and at first no one can figure it out. However, it quickly becomes clear that Alpha has an axe to grind, and she means business. The second half of the film is nonstop goofy carnage as Alpha digs her claws into anyone who gets in her way. Ostensibly traumatized by her poaching from the Panamanian jungle, this sloth is clawing its way back home, and she doesn’t care who she has to go through to get there.
Perhaps the most striking thing about Matthew Goodhue’s Slotherhouse is the fact that is looks and acts like a real movie. Eschewing the Asylum/SyFy style low budget goofiness, Slotherhouse presents its story with just enough seriousness to surprise at every turn. Quality cinematography from Mark David and incredible production by Nikola Bereck (Till Death) give the film a gravitas I was not expecting. The premise is silly, almost aggressively so, but the characters in the film – Alpha notwithstanding – never act as though they are in a comedy, making their fear real, even if the thing they are running from is one of the cutest killers the big screen has ever seen.
Playing in Slotherhouse’s favor is the film’s determination to utilize practical effects at every opportunity. Alpha herself was a product of the geniuses at Creature Effects, a fully animatronic sloth puppeteered by industry vet Greg Ballora whose physical presence in the film gives it an extra touch that CG just can’t replicate. Through the combined efforts of Ballora and the remote crew operating Alpha, our killer becomes a real character in the film without uttering a word. Alpha is truly a work of art, and I couldn’t help grinning from ear to ear each and every time her adorable face appeared on screen, even as she was gleefully shredding sorority sisters.
A surprisingly smart and articulate slasher with the sweetest little vendetta driven slowpoke you ever did see, Slotherhouse rises above its gimmick to deliver solid B-movie thrills and nonstop gags bound to make even the most hardened gorehound crack a smile. While it is unlikely to win any awards, it’s destined to win plenty of hearts as horror fans fall in love with Alpha just like I have.
Slotherhouse is now available on VOD in the US
- Matthew Goodhue
- Bradley Fowler
- Cady Lanigan
- Stefan Kapicic
- Lisa Ambalavanar
- Olivia Rouyre