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Slotherhouse (2023) - Movie Review

When you come across a film named "Slotherhouse," expectations align effortlessly. The creators of this movie are fully aware of the genre hybrid they've unleashed, and their unabashed self-awareness is a large part of its charm. Director Matthew Goodhue and screenwriter Bradley Fowler have managed to concoct a film that, against all odds, works.

"Slotherhouse" is a nostalgic throwback to the 1980s, evoking the days when a trip to the local video store's horror section was a weekly tradition. Rows of colorful VHS covers promised delightfully cheesy B-movie horrors, and "Slotherhouse" could easily find a home among them.

Marrying elements from both teen comedies and horror classics, the film is acutely aware of its mash-up nature. It's this awareness, along with characters who play their roles dead seriously, that makes its wild premise so entertaining. The plot-featuring a murderous sloth terrorizing a sorority house-requires no further embellishment.

The story unfolds in a rainforest in Panama, introducing a sloth (a ridiculously fake puppet) that's captured by a poacher and subsequently sold in the U.S. by a shady trader, played by Stefan Kapicic. This is no ordinary sloth, however.

Meanwhile, college seniors Emily (Lisa Ambalavanar) and Madison (Olivia Rouyre) are far more concerned with social media fame and sorority status than their looming graduation. They clash with Brianna (Sydney Craven), the sorority's dominant personality. When Emily acquires the sloth, now named Alpha, as the sorority’s new mascot, hilarity and horror ensue.

The plot has glaring issues, including illogical decisions and significant plot holes. Yet criticizing a film like "Slotherhouse" for lacking logic seems futile. These "flaws" contribute to its comedic aspect, and the filmmakers are fully aware of this, aiming to create an interactive experience for the audience.

That said, "Slotherhouse" isn't without genuine shortcomings. The 93-minute run time feels stretched, particularly when delving into mundane sorority dynamics. Moreover, the film’s PG-13 rating limits its potential, with much of the crazier content relegated off-screen.

Still, the film provides a joyous viewing experience. Goodhue and Fowler have concocted an outrageous mix of genres that works best as a late-night cinema trip with an equally enthusiastic audience. Though flawed, it also serves as solid couch entertainment. "Slotherhouse" will be available in select theaters and on VOD starting September 19th.

So, if you're looking for an irreverent blend of horror and comedy, "Slotherhouse" should not be missed. Its audacious silliness makes for a memorable viewing experience, even if it could have pushed its absurdity further. Overall, the film captures the spirit of 80s B-movie horror and presents it with a cheeky modern twist.