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Overall Rating

Awesome: 15.58%
Worth A Look62.34%
Average: 19.48%
Pretty Bad: 2.6%
Total Crap: 0%

7 reviews, 35 user ratings

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by Erik Childress

"Sluggish At Times - But Damn Funny!"
4 stars

Horror films and their fans are a finicky bunch are a hard lot to pin down. As a loyal flock they will anticipate every release, blast critics for not getting it and then like a true cult audience feel invaded when one of their films finds a mass audience. They love when a director is aware of the absurdity of his material and pays tribute to its inspirations, but not too aware. They love a great gore shot, but still bemoan the lack of genuine horror. All well and fine, but a movie is still a movie. Get the material or not, a well-made film is still just that. I canít go as far to give Slither that much credit, but to its own Ė horror or comedy Ė itís still an immensely fun time if not aware of its own shortcomings.

Like many horror films with a cheeky sensibility, Slither begins with two things Ė a meteorite and a small hick town. Grant Grant (Michael Rooker) was lucky enough to snag a beautiful young bride in Starla (Elizabeth Banks) but unlucky in messing with the space rock which shoots a worm into his stomach and begins transforming him into something particularly gruesome. Sheriff Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion) has carried a torch for Starla ever since childhood and will soon be thrust into protecting her from an alien invasion involving tentacles, slugs, slime and zombies.

Writer/director James Gunn (a Troma protťgť who went on to write the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead) has more ideas than a simple plot synopsis can convey, especially the bizarreness of the Grant's love story which manages to work despite it's limits. Itís fun to watch some of these twists develop, yet within the constraints of a 90-minute running time it leads to pacing issues which threatens the patience of the viewer and may ultimately disappoint their expectations for the payoff. A third of the film is already over before it really starts moving and the final third is over before enough time is given to adequately grease the morbid complications and giddy ickiness that the film sets up for us. That sounds like a backhanded credit to the film hitting the ground with a sound barrier pace, only its anything but.

However, where Slither may come up short as a complete work of horror it more than makes up for it in laughs. This is truly an instance where comedy needs to be placed in front of the slash before horror. Itís not a spoof by any means, but Gunn has dropped enough references to crook both sides of a smile and gets two standout performances that he should be dropping bonus checks to. One check goes to Fillion, who takes an underwritten hero and brings to it the necessary charm and goofiness that not only made him a fan favorite on TVís Firefly (and subsequent big screen spinoff, Serenity) but will further the case for him becoming the next Kurt Russell. The other and remaining residuals should spill over to Gregg Henry. Long a staple of Brian DePalmaís films (and doing fine work in both Payback and TVís Gilmore Girls[/'i]), Henry relishes every overreaction to outstanding effect as the town mayor, Jack MacReady, and if nothing else will have the fine folk at Mr. Pibb hunting him down for endorsement opportunities.

I apologize to Mr. Gunn if my review seems less than enthusiastic, because itís truly not the case. A great, fun time was had during the screening and Iím sure many more will Ė horror fans or not. Gunnís work is hurt by the obvious trimming to the film, either by budgetary or running time concerns, as well as having a director capable of maximizing the tension and action to a more lengthened finale worthy of its historical context to the genreís best work. Gunnís work in the chair is too lackadaisical by comparison to measure up to horror comedies like Tremors (pretty much the gold standard of this realm), Dead Alive and the yet-still-unreleased Project Greenlight production, Feast. Slither needs a little bit more work to qualify for a future list such as that, but whatís there should still be able to appease horror fans, who with the darkness they are usually so akin to indulging in, can certainly use a good laugh now and again.

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originally posted: 03/31/06 16:02:41
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2006 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

3/08/19 morris campbell icky b-movie fun 4 stars
4/05/13 David Hollingsworth A B-movie classic with actual style 5 stars
9/29/12 roscoe 1st hour is fairly good and humorous, but then the movie is rushed one the town is infected 3 stars
11/07/10 millersxing Are you gonna finish that possum? 4 stars
2/15/10 art IF THIS IS your CUP OF TEA!? 3 stars
12/29/09 Chad Dillon Cooper Throwback to 50's monster movies. 4 stars
7/20/08 Shaun Wallner Great Horror film!! Kept me on the edge of my seat 4 stars
5/26/08 mr.mike Has its moments however its been done better and takes a while to get going. 3 stars
6/11/07 Pork and Beans Pretty good first half, terribly generic second half 2 stars
3/27/07 MP Bartley Awkwardly developed, but mostly gruesome fun. 4 stars
3/21/07 David Pollastrini very creepy 4 stars
1/02/07 Jim Not as funny or as scary as I'd hoped -- several notches under Shaun of the Dead. 3 stars
12/02/06 Indrid Cold Not as fun as I expected, but still not bad. Sorry Firefly fans, but Fillion kinda sucks. 4 stars
11/25/06 Melissa Tokarczyk Funny and campy! 4 stars
11/07/06 Vince Good stuff, higly recommended if you like the genre. 4 stars
10/31/06 ES Night of the creeps meets puppet-masters, jokes fall flat and hardly a fright 3 stars
10/11/06 pete.chesworth Highly watchable fun with great special effects 4 stars
6/08/06 Patti a pretty good movie, I would sugest it to others. 3 stars
5/24/06 Littlepurch Absolutely gross but very enjoyable and occasionally hilarious. 4 stars
5/09/06 y2mckay Tongue-in-cheek horror at it's finest. Fillion and Henry steal the movie. 4 stars
5/06/06 alice Very entertaining ! 4 stars
4/23/06 Mase Fun, diverting, B movie horror comedy. We need more people with a passion for this genre. 4 stars
4/18/06 Dave An okay film, but I've seen better films and also a lot worse. 3 stars
4/18/06 Mark Louis Baumgart Parody of all things Cronenberg & Night/Creeps, a great big sloppy bucket of B movie fun. 5 stars
4/18/06 Gray that is some fucked up shit 4 stars
4/16/06 Ole Man Bourbon One of the creepiest love scenes ever. Felt like I was being raped by the leading man. 4 stars
4/15/06 Steven Lewis A build up to a great second half with homage to the 80s gore and more. 5 stars
4/08/06 BrianWilly Hilarious fun. 5 stars
4/06/06 Troy M. Grzych Didn't this movie come out in the 80's..."Night of the Creeps". Rent it!! 3 stars
4/05/06 Crispin How did no one notice the graruitous nipple in the tub scene? 5 stars
4/04/06 jcjs laughed 2 stars
4/04/06 thejames entertaining, and pretty damn funny. 4 stars
4/02/06 malcolm a+ ... for a b movie, a lot of fun 3 stars
4/01/06 lee A big budget Troma movie. 5 stars
4/01/06 KingNeutron Stay till the end of the credits - and hope for an even better sequel! 4 stars
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  31-Mar-2006 (R)
  DVD: 24-Oct-2006



[trailer] Trailer

Directed by
  James Gunn

Written by
  James Gunn

  Nathan Fillion
  Elizabeth Banks
  Michael Rooker
  Gregg Henry
  Tania Saulnier
  Brenda James

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