|release date||March 31 2006|
|starring||Gregg Henry, Michael Rooker, Elizabeth Banks, Rheagan Wallace, Brenda James, Don Thompson, Haig Sutherland, Lloyd Kaufman, Jennifer Copping, Nathan Fillion|
|trailer 1||Trailer #1|
I doubt Slither will have any trouble sliding its way into the ranks of a cult classic. Slither is awesome, simple and plain. Filled with gore, hilarious laughs, and action, it’s the most fun you’ll have at the theater in a long time.
The film opens with a small asteroid hurtling towards Earth. It lands in the town of Wheelsy, a small peaceful town about to celebrate its ever-important deer season. As town life seems to move like normal, a major alien invasion begins when town figure Grant Grant (Michael Rooker) is infected with some sort of extra-terrestrial being. The invasion begins slowly but then reaches catastrophic heights as it spreads through Wheelsy’s citizens, turning them into zombie-like beings. The survivors including Deputy Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion), Starla Grant (Elizabeth Banks), Mayor Jack MacReady (Gregg Henry) and attack survivor Kylie Strutemyer (Tania Saulnier) band together to fight this new menace.
The characters and actors in Slither are all perfect for this story. Nathan Fillion shines as he delivers countless lines with subtle hilarity. His Bill Pardy is a hero but also a hopeless romantic in his quest to show his feelings for Starla (Banks). Elizabeth Banks’ Starla is a fantastic damsel in distress. Mayor Jack (Henry) is a major source of amusement with his sleazy intensity. Kylie’s character is “that character in a horror movie that knows the background information on the enemy.” This is not to degrade the writing or Saulnier’s performance as I think she does manage to create her own identity but for the most part the character is there to guide the others and she has an original story rather than just being a psychic like we normally see.
From the start I felt like the town of Wheelsy also functioned as a character. It could be Anytown, America, but it has a distinct balance of morals and sleaze, like the school’s mascot “The Cooters” for example. Its attention to little details like that that make Slither truly unique. On one level, it’s a straight-forward fun ride, but you can really tell that writer/director James Gunn and his crew thought every step through to ensure its slimy goodness. There is also a running theme in the movie about the survival of the fittest. This concept is introduced with the deer season in Wheelsy but comes to take a larger meaning when the Aliens’ intention and history is discovered.
Alas, the movie is not perfect. Most of my complaints are minute as I understand that a movie like this doesn’t have the biggest budget in the world, despite its involvement with a major like Universal. But, some CGI shots are pretty cheesy, as in beyond the cheese level of the movie. Also, I’m just picky but the editing seemed a little off at times and I thought they employed the use of the fade out way too much. My other biggest complaint was that the ending was a little non-climactic. It has the set up and all of the components to be a perfectly dramatic end but somehow it didn’t seem to play right to me, it was just sort of bam, bam, over. On the flip side, I liked the use of practical effects over CGI and at times, even when they were bad looking I found it funny such as a certain deer attack that was just hilarious.
Violence wise, Slither is relentless. I think the movie really plays with what audience members consider cute. Every time I watch Mars Attacks with a large group of people, there is always a horrific reaction to the dog getting killed. To say the least, Slither takes this concept and runs with it. The Zombies also have original ideas to them, such as a group mentality controlled by one brain. This adds laughter as these bloody zombie-fied bodies lurch down streets moaning “Starlaaaaa.” Overall, Slither is fun as hell and has lots of originality as well as lots of throwbacks to the ‘80s. Frankly, I’m really happy that Universal made this and I can only hope that it will lead to a few more cheese-tastic cult classics. When it comes to the survival of the fittest, Slither is going to have a long life span.