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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 Doug Bentin

"Ick. And I mean that in a good way."
4 stars

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.”

Stephen King

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
originally posted: 04/13/06 06:45:17
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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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