Monday, April 10, 2006


I was initially attracted to Slither because it didn't fall into the current Hollywood horror trend in which bolt cutters and such are inflicted upon innocent bystanders. Not that I have anything against Saw, Hostel, The Hills Have Eyes, and their ilk, but this film gets points for blazing its own trail.

That trail, however, isn't an entirely fresh one. Many elements here will seem familiar, as Slither is a loving homage to the horror films of the 80's, with particular emphasis on Night of the Creeps and The Thing, with a dash of The Blob. Even some of the special effects seem reminiscent of the period, though they are augmented with CGI. There is a handful of clever inside references to 80's horror which you can read about at the IMDB.

The setting is a small southern town in the process of celebrating the opening of deer season. Following a disagreement with his wife Starla (Elizabeth Banks), Grant Grant (Michael Rooker) finds himself flirting with a young woman in a bar. The two go off into the woods together, but Grant sobers up enough to remember he's married. Before they can head back, though, Grant is attacked and infected by a meteor-borne parasite that burrows into his brain. He finds himself with a fierce craving for meat, and he begins undergoing some disturbing physical changes.

Soon animals of all kinds are disappearing, and Starla can no longer accept that her husband's physical transformation is the result of a bee sting as he claims. Police Chief Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion of Serenity and Firefly fame) who has been carrying a torch for Starla since childhood, leads an armed posse into the woods in hopes of capturing Grant. When the police find him, Grant has morphed into a form that can only be described as Lovecraftian, and the alien parasite that inhabits him has sinister plans for the other denizens of this sleepy little hamlet.

This is a just plain fun horror flick. The horror/humor hybrid is rarely done well, but Writer/Director James Gunn succeeds admirably. Gunn previously penned the screenplay to the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake, a film that doesn't quite measure up to the original Dawn, but manages to be a pretty decent horror flick in its own right. He also wrote and starred in the highly underrated The Specials (2000), a low budget comedy about a third string team of super heroes. If the similarly themed but less entertaining Mystery Men hadn't been released around the same time, The Specials might have gotten the attention it deserved. With Slither, his feature directorial debut, Gunn is hitting his stride and I for one can now forgive him for his work on Scooby Doo (2002).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Matt,

Although I enjoyed Slither, I think you liked it better than I. If there is such a genre, I would classify it as eye candy for the horror set.


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