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‘Slotherhouse’ follows B-movie tradition of absurd fun

I’ve always loved when Stephen King writes about characters going to the Saturday matinees to watch hours of B-horror for a quarter. My first introduction to the B-movie was through the television show, “Mystery Science Theater: 3000.” The hosts would watch some of these terrible old monster movies and quip along. I watched it somewhat obsessively and found myself seeking out these old horror movies on my own, eventually branching into current low-budget horror movies, particularly if they had a comedic element to them. Which naturally led me to Matthew Goodhue’s “Slotherhouse,” currently streaming on Hulu.

Emily (Lisa Ambalavanar) is starting her senior year with her sorority, and she wants to leave a legacy, like her mother. When Emily rescues a cute sloth from a poacher (Stefan Kapicic), she decides that she will use the animal, whom she’s named Alpha, as the sorority mascot to further her chances of being elected the sorority president — finally beating the wealthier and more popular Brianna (Sydney Craven). The plan seems to be working, but as time goes by, the sorority sisters begin disappearing. As the election draws near, Emily begins to wonder if their new mascot is to blame for the unexplained occurrences in the house.

This is a fully absurd movie that embraces its B-movie, creature feature roots. One of my favorite things about it was the decision to make the sloth a puppet. I’m sure they could have had some terrible CGI sloth in the movie, but having a tactile animal to interact with was so much more fun, particularly in the final showdown between the survivors and the sloth. And truly, watching this sloth plod along slowly and then dart out to make the kills was just funny in a way that I don’t think would have worked if it was a digital monster.

The performances in this are nothing to write home about. The actors are all competent, but none showed anything that made me want to look up their other work. That said, this was a slasher film that required lots of ear piercing shrieks and these women delivered that in spades. Being mauled by a sloth puppet is inherently silly and the actors here all managed to make their fear more or less believable.

Like the other elements of this movie, the script is fairly thin. But even in that lack, there are some genuinely funny jokes, particularly in the third act. When it came time to share the “lesson” in the movie, I laughed out loud at some of the lines. Also, the meta joke of rushing a sorority in a movie about a murderous sloth is a solid one.

The days of heading to the local cinema to watch an afternoon of monster movies for a quarter are far behind us. But if you happen to spend $20 on a Hulu subscription, perhaps you can get some friends together and have fun watching “Slotherhouse.”

ALISE CHAFFINS is a Morgantown writer who loves movies and sharing her opinions. She reviews a movie from a streaming service every Saturday and one newly in theaters every Sunday. Find more at MacGuffin or Meaning on Substack.