Quantcast SLITHER review

FIRST LOOK: SLITHER (March. 06) by Robg.

Before I had the chance to catch an early advance peek at the directorial debut of James Gunn (who also wrote Slither), I'd seen him take a lot of heat at 2 separate Fangoria Weekend Of Horrors panels. After all, Gunn also wrote the Dawn Of The Dead remake back in 2004 and Scooby Doo (Parts 1 and 2) - three films that horror fans love to give him crap about. But before those big budget Hollywood epics, Gunn got his start at Troma writing fan fave flicks such as 'Tromeo & Juliet' and 'Terror Firmer'. (Plus, he's married to the beautiful Jenna Fischer.) So, even if he didn't take fan response with such stride, I'm sure he wouldn't care what anyone had to say about his previous writing gigs anyways. Well, it's a good thing James is one of us. Sure, at first glance, SLITHER seems coincidently similar to 80's cult classic 'Night Of The Creeps', but Gunn himself admits that all he wanted to do with SLITHER was create an old school, 80's style creature flick like the one's he remembered loving as a kid. And after seeing an advance screening of SLITHER, I can assure you that he has accomplished his goal.

Look... SLITHER is not a "classic" and it's not one of the greatest horror films of ever, but it IS in fact a very fun, gory ride that fans should have a great time with. It calls back (in spirit) to the great 80's era of horror movies that included flicks such as 'Critters', 'Night Of The Creeps', 'Deadly Spawn' and even 'John Carpenter's The Thing'. And it's been a long time since we've had a flick like this in theaters.

Remember before I mentioned that James Gunn got his start writing for Troma? Well, this is pretty much a big budget Troma movie only produced by Universal and featuring a top notch cast of recognizable faces to genre fans.

The movie centers around beautiful school teacher Starla (played by Elizabeth Banks) who's married to the older and wealthier Grant Grant (Yes, that's his name, and he's played by the legendary Michael Rooker. Aka. "The Rook") We've also got town sheriff Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion from 'Buffy', 'Serenity'), who secretly pines for the lovely Starla. One night after feeling a bit rejected, Grant goes out to a few bars, ends up with an old gal pal in the woods and stumbles upon an alien meteorite, which upon closer inspection shoots him with a dart (actually a slug-like creature) that travels & takes control of Grant's brain. After this, Grant is compelled to consume lots of "meat" and begins kidnaping local dogs and buying pounds and pounds of raw meat from the supermarket.

He's slowly morphing into a disgusting creature (think Cronenberg's THE FLY) and after a brief hunt for Grant (who at this point is killing cattle thru all the farms in the area), the police discover an "impregnated" woman who births thousands and thousands of slug creatures. These nasty little buggers head straight for town and do anything they can to get in your mouth! Once in there, they take over the bodies of their victims and essentially turn them into zombies.

What's cool about the movie? Well, a lot! It plays out like a trademark 80's flick. It's slow paced for the first half but once the slugs come out, it's thoroughly entertaining right down to the finish. It's really gory, using just the right combination of practical make-up effects and CGI to enhance some of the shots when there's thousands of slugs on screen.

This is one of those examples where they don't overdo it with the CGI but mix it up nicely with real effects. And Rooker's make-up looks disgusting! What else? It's really funny. And not in a self parody kind of way, but in an almost sarcastic "I can't believe how sick this movie is" kind of way. There's plenty of tension releasers through out the duration of the flick.

James Gunn pulled together a dream cast for this type of picture. I mean, Rooker is nuts on and off screen, but in this, he's awesome. He also endures a lot of damn make-up for the several changes in his appearance thru-out the movie. All more horrific and grosser then the last. Elizabeth Banks is beautiful and classy. Gregg Henry (who plays the town mayor Jack MacReady) is hilarious and delivers some of the best one liners in the flick (Including his first line in the beginning of the movie). And of course Nathan Fillion is likable, funny, and the type of character you can only hope to root for in a horror flick like this.

Keep your eyes peeled for a James Gunn cameo in the beginning (as a school teacher trying to flirt it up a bit with Elizabeth Banks). And Troma fans will be happy numerous times thru-out the movie to know that James Gunn hasn't forgotten where he came from. You'll see good old Lloyd Kaufman as a bum in the police station and at one point in the movie, one of the characters is watching 'The Toxic Avenger'.

If you're looking for something not too deep, but that's a lot of fun, has lots of gross effects & gore and is overall entertaining from start to finish, then gather up a huge group of friends and check out SLITHER when it opens on March 31st. Come on, it's worth it for Rooker alone!

- Robg.


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