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Slither (2006)

DVD Cover (Universal)
Genres:
Creature Film, Horror, Horror Comedy, Sci-Fi Horror
Director:
James Gunn James Gunn
Starring:
Don Thompson Don Thompson
Nathan Fillion Nathan Fillion
Gregg Henry Gregg Henry
Xantha Radley Xantha Radley
Elizabeth Banks Elizabeth Banks

7.1 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: April 03, 2006
Just about every horror director in the world has attempted a zombie film, at some point. Wes Craven had "The Serpent and the Rainbow"; John Carpenter had "Ghosts of Mars"; Danny Boyle had "28 Days Later"; George A. Romero had "Night of the Living Dead"; and, Peter Jackson had the gruesomely insane "Dead Alive". Over the past three or four years, however, just about every wannabe director under the sun has attempted a horror film, from the musical romps of "Dead & Breakfast" to the Australian flamboyancy of "Undead". James Gunn is not those other directors. He has a bit more experience, albeit from an unusual source. He has spent years honing his skills working for one of the most graphic film companies out there, Troma - the team behind classics pictures like "Toxic Avenger". He also managed to pen the script for one of the best horror remakes to come at us yet, "Dawn of the Dead". So, James Gunn is no stranger to horror. He is the director that Eli Roth wants to be, but doesn't have the talent to become. Gunn has a keen eye for horror, comedy, and gore. He knows how to blend the three together in a way that brings back memories of early Sam Raimi and 1980's Dario Argento. "Slither" is his first feature film as a director, and what a film entry into the genre. "Slither" was, hands down, the best horror film of the year.

After a meteor crashes in the small town of Wheelsy, local businessman Grant Grant (Michael Rooker) takes a dart to the stomach from some overgrown slug he finds in the woods. Soon after, Grant begins to change, both physically and mentally. Before too long, he has almost completely mutated into something out of "The Fly", much to the dismay of his wife, Starla (Elizabeth Banks). When Grant almost murders Starla, local police chief Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion) and Mayor MacReady (Gregg Henry) spring into action and go after the half-man/half-slug. What they soon discover is that Grant has unleashed an entire army of these slugs on the town of Wheelsy, turning everyone bitten into meat hungry zombies. And, so goes "Slither", a film about aliens, zombies, true love, and everything else that can be crammed inside ninety of minutes of disgustingly outrageous fun and adventure. We get everything from the young girl trapped inside a car as her recently zombified mother, father, and twin sisters try desperately to get in so they might devour her, to the zombified deer who goes on a rampage in the local police station. Director James Gunn throws everything but the kitchen sink at the audience, and we soak it up like a roll of paper towels.

Watching "Slither" and knowing his background, it is easy to spot Gunn's trauma influences. If you look hard enough, you even see Troma founder Lloyd Kaufman in a brief cameo. "Slither" is as graphic and as oozing as it can be with an R-rating, and Gunn knows his boundaries. He knows what his audiences can and cannot handle. If you are offended by something, then why in the world did you stumble into a movie entitled "Slither"? Gunn's non-Troma influences are also very evident while watching the film. The scene where we first see Grant as a full slug, creeping through the pasture after a cow - it is a scene very reminiscent of "The Thing", both in the direction and the way in which the creature skulks about. The scene where the police chief disposes of one of the characters at the end of the film - quick and without remorse - is directly taken from a scene in the recent "Dawn of the Dead", which makes sense considering Gunn wrote both scripts. I also loved his use of music in the film, especially the essential theme song, "Only Woman In the World". The end sequence between Elizabeth Banks and Michael Rooker is priceless - worth the entire price of admission alone. It makes me have hope that 2006 might turn out to be a decent year for horror and not another year filled with countless releases, but only one or two worth remembering.

This film is also perfectly cast. As Grant, Michael Rooker is fantastic, even though he is mostly covered up with make-up and prosthetics. Rooker has been absent from the film scene for a while now and it was nice to see him back and in top form. As Starla, Elizabeth Banks proves why she is one of the current stars on the rise. In such a short career, she has already tackled just about every genre possible and brings the same charm and sincerity to each and every role. My favorite characters, however, were Nathan Fillion from "Serenity" as the local police chief. No one plays sarcastic and serious at the same time quite like him; and, Gregg Henry as the mayor, quite possibly the most memorable character from the film. Both dish out verbal insults routinely and it adds so much comedy to the film at times when you might think the horror is going to overtake for good. This film was filled with finely tuned comedic performances from actors who know when to play for the laugh and when to play it straight. "Slither" brings out the best in them all.

The sequence that most people are going to walk away remembering is when the search party arrive at a barn in the middle of the woods, only to find something inside they had not expected. The next ten minutes of the film comprise one of the best crafted horror sequences of all-time. That one sequence pretty much sets the film off, and every second is worthwhile. "Slither" was the kind of film that made me glad to be a horror junkie. It made me want to go out and rent as many Troma films as I could possibly find. While Troma lacks the storylines and the emotional depth and the box office potential of most mainstream films, what it doesn't lack if passion and creativity. James Gunn is the perfect example. His horror film was one of the most creative in years, a difficult task when you consider the genre he chose is the most readily available these days. "Slither" was the best horror film of the year and a true delight for horror fans everywhere. Crawl to see this one.

9.5/10.
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Cryptorchild #1: Cryptorchild - added 04/15/2006, 10:45 AM
Just saw this movie last night. And I must say that I loved every minute of it. A nice mixture of gore and humor. It's not your typical horror movie and that's what I really liked about it. I don't think this movie's for everyone though. But it certainly was for me. I will definately be buying this one when it comes out on dvd. Great review bluemeanie.
Tristan #2: Tristan - added 09/22/2006, 08:26 AM
Finally watched this movie, and I loved it. Gunn knew just how much gore, comedy and action to throw into the blender to come out with a great horror film. I'm readily looking forward to its DVD release.
Chad #3: Chad - added 11/01/2006, 08:39 PM
I sort of hate to throw down yet another "me too!" comment, but... yep, me too. 9/10.
Dametria #4: Dametria - added 04/24/2007, 11:38 AM
SO freaking funny. The creatures look straight out of "night of the creeps" and I had trouble getting that out of my mind as I watched it but still...great
effin #5: effin - added 11/26/2007, 11:55 PM
Nathan Fillion does not get enough roles, he was awesome in this movie, there is a special place in my heart for zombie films, obviously, but this one has a home all it own. I laughed, i cried, i enjoyed myelf more than divorce lawyers love world of warcraft.
danimigra #6: danimigra - added 03/15/2008, 06:11 PM
I really enjoy this one... so far.. have horror, gore and comedy... is a good film to watch.... 8/10
George Snow #7: George Snow - added 08/14/2008, 07:30 AM
Gunn's a damn fine writer. His Tromeo and Juliet is great also.
Optimus Prime #8: Optimus Prime - added 03/10/2009, 08:17 PM
Just plain hilarious. Loved it. 10/10.
Lucid Dreams #9: Lucid Dreams - added 05/26/2010, 11:41 PM
An easy 10 on this one and I thought Nathan Fillion did a great job on here.
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