A decent (or at-least entertaining) B-movie could have been made from the intentionally ridiculous concept. However, Slotherhouse blows the opportunity.
The prologue holds the promise of a goofy good time. Opening in a Panamanian jungle, the docile titular creature is snatched from a tree by a hungry alligator, only for the latter to end up on the worst end of that conflict. The sloth is then captured by poachers who bring it to America, where it ends up with a guy who sells exotic animals as pets.
But the fun pretty much ends once the setting shifts to a sorority house populated by caricatures you’ve seen in countless other comedies depicting college life. So of course, you’ve got the quirky, kind-hearted sweethearts versus the shallow, image-obsessed bitches, the latter cartoonishly represented by house president Brianna (Sydney Craven). The film often strives to poke fun both the sorority system and our obsession with social media, neither of which are particularly challenging to satirize.
|The least popular item at Build-A-Bear.
Even with a preponderance of cliched characters, the idea of a notoriously slow creature turning homicidal holds comic possibilities, such as victims stupidly putting themselves in harm’s way, unable to avoid the creature methodically inching toward them. Instead, the filmmakers essentially cheat on their own premise. Without foreshadowing or context, Alpha is able to operate computers, use cell phones, drug people, drive cars and sabotage utilities. Not only that, it has lightning fast reflexes, leaps at its victims, punches through doors, moves stealthily around the massive house (in seconds) and is virtually unkillable.
It’s not the plausibility that I question. It’s the fact that even a killer sloth should display slothlike behavior. That’s the joke viewers expect, not a puppet engaging in the same mayhem Chucky’s been committing for decades (and even the violence is pretty benign in an obvious attempt to earn a PG-13 rating). The cast tries their best, but Slotherhouse is ultimately a dull, forgettable horror-comedy bereft of both the horror and the comedy, wasting the one decent joke it had in its arsenal.