Worth A Look: 62.34%
Pretty Bad: 2.6%
Total Crap: 0%
7 reviews, 35 user ratings
by Doug Bentin
There’s a new horror/comedy slithering into town, and yes, I am ashamed of that joke. It’s a little too Gene Shalit for my taste, but no one’s perfect.“I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find I cannot terrify him/her, I will try to horrify; and if I find I cannot horrify, I’ll go for the gross-out. I’m not proud.”
"Ick. And I mean that in a good way."
But in the case of the new horror/comedy “Slither,” we’re not talking about the kind of gross-out King had in mind. That’s the bleeech gross-out that has you hurling into your popcorn bag and hastening to the exit. No, writer/director James Gunn (“Tromeo and Juliet,” “Scooby-Doo,” “Dawn of the Dead”) aims for the ewww gross-out, the kind that goes beyond realism and into the land of burlesque violence. You know it’s all a joke, even if you don’t think that kind of thing is funny.
Come on, Gunn was introduced to filmmaking by working with Lloyd Kaufman at Troma, a company that is known neither for subtlety nor for taking itself seriously. He even samples a moment from Troma’s goofy “The Toxic Avenger” in “Slither.”
Nathan Fillion (“Serenity”) is Bill Pardy, town police chief. Elizabeth Banks (“The 40-Year Old Virgin”) is Starla, who is married to Grant Grant (Michael Rooker, “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer”), the richest man in this small, rural town. Bill has been carrying a torch for Starla so long, he’s starting to look like the Statue of Liberty.
So one night a meteorite crashes into the woods and something crawls out, kind of like the “meteor shit” from “Creepshow,” only mobile. Turns out to be a glandular slug from outer space that takes over Grant’s body by leaping into his mouth and slithering down his throat. Hmmm, being force-fed something nasty that then turns you into a non-thinking automaton. Sound to you like any presidents we know?
He then turns Brenda (Brenda James), the woman with whom he was playing slap and tickle, all “womby” by injecting space slug semen into her stomach. She gives birth to zillions of new slugs and they all go out in search of humans to inhabit. I guess this town is too small even for an Orkin man.
You may be thinking about now, “Wait a minute . . . haven’t I seen something like this several hundred times already?” Sure you have. But that old Troma spirit, even when wrapped up in a moderately expensive film from Universal, is always more wink-wink, nudge-nudge than anything else.
Some of you will be frightened by Gunn’s pop-ups and disturbed by his no-holds-barred imagery, but this is really intended for fans of such films as “Evil Dead 2,” “Night of the Creeps,” “Shaun of the Dead,” and the masterful “Return of the Living Dead.” For those of you who would rather be found dead in a ditch than watch movies like that, well, “Failure to Launch” is still playing in the small auditorium.
The cast is having fun, and allowing you to have some, too. Writer/director James Gunn knows his cheesy horror/comedies and manages to reference several of them. One shot of zombie-like humans stumbling down a hill should have the trademark symbol with George Romero’s name on it.
This is Gunn’s first feature as director and he has a good grasp of what he wants to do. He builds tension nicely and he allows his actors, including also in key roles Jack MacReady and Tania Saulnier, to not-quite over-do the cliché elements in their characters. Speaking of actors, pay attention when Starla discusses Grant’s changing condition with the doctor over the phone. The doctor’s voice belongs to Rob Zombie.
“Slither” is fun, in its way, and ironic and smart.
And gross. Did I mention gross?There isn’t any nudity, that, apparently, being one horror cliché Gunn couldn’t get his mostly gung ho actresses to duplicate.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=13976&reviewer=405
originally posted: 04/13/06 06:45:17
|OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2006 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.