With laughs and gross-outs aplenty, Slither is the best horror comedy since Shaun of the Dead. Having written for the jubilant trash-mongers at Troma Films before scripting 2004's well-received remake of Dawn of the Dead, ... more »writer-director James Gunn crafted this hilarious splatter-fest as an homage to the comically violent horror films of the 1970s and '80s, and he gets it just right with a low-budget look, perfect casting, grisly make-up effects and judicious use of CGI gore. The story's a deliberate monster-mash, borrowing from a dozen other movies with its plot about an invasion of slithery slug-like parasites from outer space, arriving (via meteorite) in the redneck town of Wheelsy, South Carolina, where they turn most of the local yokels into flesh-eating zombies. The first victim (played by Michael Rooker) turns into a squid-like, multi-tentacled host monster (kill him and you kill 'em all), and his terrified wife (Elizabeth Banks) teams up with Wheelsy's sheriff (Nathan Fillion, from Firefly and Serenity) and mayor (comedic scene-stealer Gregg Henry) to eradicate the alien threat before Wheelsy turns into Slugville. Gunn handles comedy and horror with exuberant flair, and Slither's greatest strength is that it never aspires to be anything more than it is: 96 minutes of good laughs and gruesomeness, served up with the kind of gleeful abandon that only true horror buffs can fully appreciate.--Jeff Shannon« less
A. Sandoc | San Pablo, California United States | 04/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"James Gunn first got his chance to work in the horror-comedy genre with his time in Troma Films. His first contribution to the genre being a send up of Shakespeare's Romero and Juliet aptly titled as Tromeo and Juliet. He next moved on to penning scripts for the major studios with his first two being the critically-panned, but profitable two Scooby-Doo live-action films. Gunn next moved on to writing a script reimagining George A. Romero's classic Dawn of the Dead. Despite howls of protest from the original film's legion of fans, the film went on to be a modest success and helped bring about the renaissance of the current zombie mania in all facet of entertainment. Gunn follows up the success of his Dawn remake by not just writing the script but finally getting behind the camera and directing it himself. I'm glad to say that James Gunn's first directorial debut with Slither has turned out to be one fun, gross-out, disgustingly hilarious horror-comedy that brings to mind the splatter-comedy films of the 1980's.
I say that Slither has alot in common with the horror-comedy during the 80's just for the fact that we've not seen a film of this kind since. Slither brings to mind such 80's B-movie shlock classics like Critters, Return of the Living Dead, and Night of the Creeps. But Gunn also pays some an homage to cult classics like John Carpenter's The Thing. One of the character's in the film and a store are even named after The Thing's badass antihero, R.J. MacReady. Then there's the tip of the hat to Romero's zombies, though this time around I would say that Gunn had more in mind the quickthinking and funny undead from John Russo's Return of the Living Dead. There's even a shout out to Invasion of the Body Snatchers as the alien slug-controlled populace are actually part of a much larger organism who thinks for all.
The story Gunn came up with for Slither was pretty straightforward and simple. Intelligent alien organism bent on world domination hitches a ride on a meteor which travel the depths of space until it falls on an unsuspecting planet. Unfortunately, the planet in question for the film happens to be Earth. Right from the get go the comedic aspect of the film begins even as the alien-laden meteor crash lands its way to one Wheelsy, N.C. A podunk town where the most interesting to happen each year is the annual Deer Cheer which signals the start of Deer Hunting season. We get to see the mundane day-to-day life of the townspeople from the pretty high school teacher Starla Grant (adorably played and with a strong sense of marital fidelity by Elizabeth Banks from 40-Year Old Virgin), the town's obnoxious and foulmouthed Mayor MacReady (Gregg Henry's performance was hilarious and he gets pretty much all the best one-liners), to its Chief of Police Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion in Han Solo mode).
The alien soon finds a host in the town's richest person who also happens to be Starla's much older husband, Grant Grant. Michael Rooker (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) plays Grant and his performance was both funny and sad. He pretty much starts morphing into a creature somewhere between Jabba the Hutt and a Lovecraftian squid-person. But through it all, Grant's love for his wife manifests itself by way of the alien's collective intelligence. When the townspeople all start getting infected by the large, slug-like offsprings of the main alien, it's hilarious to find that they all share Grant's love for Starla. It would seem that the alien collective learned abit or two from Grant about marital love and also a love of Air Supply's syrupy ballad, "Every Woman in the World." These zombies chant the word "Starla" instead of "brains." The rest of the film was pretty much Starla, Bill Pardy and a small band of survivors trying to stop the Grant-alien, the slugs and the zombified townspeople from spreading out of Wheelsy and out onto the rest of the planet.
The film balances well between horror and comedy. The horror aspect of Slither comes from the many gory scenes. Trust me when I say that this film has more than its share of blood, gore and splatter. We're shown dead and gutted pets and farm animals. Not to mention the requisite flesheating performed by the zombies. the great thing about the scenes of horror in Slither was the absence of CGI except for a scene or two and even then it was difficult to pinpoint which was CGI and which was animatronics and make-up effects. Slither's monster effect owes alot to the work of Rob Bottin and his crew who did the disgustingly creative effects on Carpenter's The Thing. I'm glad to see that Gunn decided to forgo CGI for these scenes and went for more realism. Even if such realism were nauseatingly disgusting and gross. Just what a horror movie was suppose to be. The comedy part came not from the aliens and the scenes of horror, but from the characters reactions to the unfolding events around them.
Just like Shaun of the Dead, Slither's characters stumble, bumble and trip their way through the crisis. Even Fillion's character of Bill the Chief goes against the stereotypical hero from these type of film. He's a smartass about his job and how he sees the people he's suppose to protect, but when the time came to do his job as protector he tries to do the best he can even though the best he can doesn't measure up to what we're suppose to get from our heroes. The dialogue is fast and crisp which made for alot of hilarious one-liners and most of the m coming from the mouth of Slither's Mr. Pibb obssessed Mayor MacReady and his penchant for overreacting to everything and also for calling everyone c**ksucker. Gregg Henry's character by far got the most laughs whenever he said something on-screen.
Slither doesn't try to be anything but what it set out to be: a funny horror film with a large helping of slapstick, splatter and slime. In thet respect, James Gunn succeeded with his writing and directing of Slither. The movie doesn't bring any originality to the horror-comedy genre. To be honest, there's not much originality left to bring to the genre, but Slither takes all the usual conventions from those 80's horror-comedies and gives it a new millenium vibe. The acting by the cast was well-done and showed that they must've have fun doing the film. The special effects were done old-school style with nary a CGI-effect to be seen except for a few brief scenes. In the end, Slither was one fun rollercoaster of a movie that scared the audience into jumping and recoiling in their seats and at the same time making them scream, shout and laugh when doing so. I've never had as much fun these last couple years watching a movie like I did with Slither."
And now for some fun
Terry Mesnard | Bellevue, NE | 04/03/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Over the last year or so, the true horror films (meaning, the non-PG-13 teen fests) took themselves very seriously. We had enough hacked off limbs (Saw II), weird decapitations and spewing blood (High Tension), torture (Hostel and Wolf Creek) and just plain good scares and gore (The Descent, The Hills Have Eyes) to last a lifetime. Most of these films had some connections to the 70s gore flicks in which the premise is made to instill terror and to disturb those watching it. While you can't call some of the films "fun" exactly, they are all excellent in instilling terror and disturbing their viewers.
Into this fray comes a little film by James Gunn, the writer of the Dawn of the Dead remake/re-imagining, this time as not only writer but also director. James Gunn began his career making Troma films like Tromeo and Juliet. If you don't know what these films are, well I'm not about to explain them to you just go rent one. Slither feels like a Troma picture with a bigger budget, a better script and with better actors. What you can expect here is tons of gore but done in a fun, gross, over-the top way that makes you laugh as well as cringe. Its about as close as you can get to the previously mentioned films while at the same time being so far removed.
Slither is about a very sleepy town in which the town's police use the speeding radar to track how fast the local birds fly and in which a meteor crashing into the forest behind them goes by totally unnoticed. It's also a movie in which a man can be named Grant Grant, be an egotistical arse and become a host for a slug-like parasite. It's also a movie in which seeing a squid-man, slugs and a bloated woman elicits nothing more than a "this is some f---ked up sh-t." It's campy, but it's supposed to be.
It also is a movie that ends up being a total homage to movies from the 80s. Everything from Evil Dead to Aliens to The Thing to even Predator (listen carefully to the music in one scene) to, of course, The Blob pops up. By far, the most inspired moments are zombies who are all crying "STARLA!" in reference to A Streetcar Named Desire and the famous line "STELLA!"
This is a good time to be a horror fan. Slither is a fun film that will leave most horror fans giggling. It reminds me of the 80s and the time when horror films were gross, maybe scary, but mostly fun. Don't get me wrong, I will be the first one in line to see the other intense and disturbing films that bring back memories of the 70s goresploitation films. But sometimes its nice to grab a bag of popcorn and watch alien slugs try and take over the world."
The critics love it and so do I
Monkdude | Hampton, Virginia | 03/31/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you like all those campy horror films that came out in the 80's, you will have a blast with Slither. This movie does a good job combining gross out effects and a wicked sense of humor. I am glad they used very little CGI, because practical effects are much more disgusting (and believable) in films like this. I will be adding this one to my DVD collection, and I have a nice spot for it beside Re-Animator. Who would have thought this would be the highest rated movie of the year so far on rottentomatoes.com?"
Best horror film-- maybe best film-- of 2006 to date.
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 04/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Slither (James Gunn, 2006)
I have to admit, James Gunn has really impressed me in recent years. Despite beginning his career as a stable boy for the moronic (at best) Troma, since branching out on his own, he's dome some fine, fine work-- first writing the screenplay for Zack Snyder's surprising Dawn of the Dead remake, then coming up with the highly underrated mockumentary LolliLove. Now, he turns his attention back to comedy/horror with Slither, but worry not-- all traces of Troma seem to have left his system.
Slither is everything you liked about brainless eighties horror-comedies, and nothing you didn't. The movie has gotten (surprisingly) some of the best reviews of the year, and has certainly garnered the closest thing to unanimous praise from critics of any movie that's popped up yet in 2006; it's all warranted. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll remember why on Earth you found yourself loving movies like C. H. U. D. 2: Bud the Chud and Ghoulies.
Grant Grant (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer's wonderful Michael Rooker-- great to see him back on camera) and his wife Starla (Seabiscuit's Elizabeth Grant) are not your typical husband and wife. Well, maybe they are; Starla married Grant as a way to get herself some respectability. He paid for her education, etc. And now their marriage is on the rocks. After a fight, Grant storms off to the local bar, where he runs into Brenda (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants' stunning Brenda James), and the two of them stumble off into the woods to do things that married folk simply shouldn't do. They get sidetracked, however, by a slime trail leading away from a meteor. They find the thing that left the slime trail. It attacks Grant. If you've seen a single eighties alien-invasion horror flick, you probably know what's coming next.
Much of the criticism surrounding the film-- what little there has been-- has centered around the word "derivative." And, sure, there are elements of any number of eighties horror films here, most notably the brilliant cult flick Night of the Creeps. But to call it derivative is simply silly; one of the best things about Slither is that Gunn knew exactly what he was doing, both while writing the script and behind the camera. It's useless ripping off a film that nine-tenths of your projected audience has already seen. He's paying homage, folks. (And if the Night of the Creeps reference was the only one you caught, do you really know enough about eighties horror to be making such pronouncements?)
A lot of the American horror films that have come out over the last few years-- and I include even the best of the lot in this estimation-- have either tried too hard to be high art, or have been brainless remakes (or, worse, both). Slither gets us away from all that. It wants nothing more than to be a stupid, silly horror-comedy. With a good stable of actors, a terrific script, and competent direction, it delivers in spades. Slither is, quite simply, one of the best American horror films of the past two decades. See it. **** ?"
Exceeded my expectations by a mile. One of the best horror/
E K Maxmias | Close enough to Detroit! | 10/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How many times have you seen a review title like that? How many times have you then read said review only to find out the reviewer likes crappy movies? It happens all too often, though there really is no accounting for taste especially when it comes to horror movies. Well, as a minor validation of my title, I don't get too excited about movies very often (for what that's worth) and I have pretty broad tastes in movie. I can accept "stupid but entertaining", "great story bad acting", "simple plot with lots of good action" and of course "great movies". I can't enjoy "The plot to nowhere (see "The Ring"), "pretentious and pointless (see "suspect Zero") and I really draw the line at "boring no matter how intelligent".
When I first saw trailers for this film, I thought "Cool, a movie about killer slugs!" and then quickly gave up all hope of actually going to the theater and seeing it (my wife hates horror movies and I don't enjoy going alone). As a busy father of 2 young kids, I don't get to see these types of films. It won't fit in the schedule. So, I forgot about "Slither" until I recently went on one of my annual Halloween DVD buying binges. The good reviews here and the low price convinced me it was a good choice. (Sorry this is taking so long) The point is; I really had "Low budget, entertaining horror film" expectations.
Boy; was I wrong. This film is entertaining on so many levels. Here's a list of superlatives that easily describe this film:
-funny, scary, gross, intelligent, creative, genuine, well-acted, high-quality, shocking, surprising, fast-paced, entertaining, crazy, demented... well I could just keep going.
Don't get me wrong, this is not "Citizen Kane" or even "Alien". What this is is a great horror-homage film that sets its own standards for horror-comedy. It's not so funny that it's ok if you don't like horror. You really need to like horror to appreciate this film. It's not so scary that it's ok if you don't like comedies. This film takes itself seriously enough to give it credibility, but also pokes fun at itself constantly. It would also help if you can appreciate sci-fi horror. It also would not hurt if you were a fan of Nathan Fillion (Firefly). He is absolutely perfect as the reluctant, de facto hero. If you like "Dead Alive" or "From Beyond" then this is nirvana!
What this film lacks are characters that do unbelievably stupid things (like walk alone, BACKWARDS, into a dark room), Unnatural human behavior (people are truly stunned and flabbergasted by what is occurring) and convenient caveats to help the characters weasel out of trouble (nothing ever goes according to plan). Lacking all of these standard horror movie "flaws" makes "slither" a pure joy for fans of this genre.
A fun game for horror/film fans is trying to pick out how many films "slither" references throughout. Here's a list of some of the references I caught after 1 viewing; "Streetcar named Desire", "From Beyond", "Night of the Living Dead", "Return of the Living Dead", "Alien", "The Thing", and "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". See if you can pick these and other references out. There are definitely more.
A strange review, I know, but this film excited me so much I just had to share that with people. This DVD is chocked full of good extras, so a great value. Just so you know; the slugs are minor player in the overall appeal of this film. "