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Slither
2006 - R - 0 Mins.
Director: James Gunn
Producer: Scott Stuber
Written By: James Gunn
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Rooker, Gregg Henry, Brenda James
Review by: Harrison Cheung
Official Site: www.slithermovie.net/
   

So not jello.
All the makings of a cult classic, ‘Slither’ is gross if illogical fun. Directed by newbie, James Gunn, ‘Slither’ nevertheless has a good pedigree as Gunn is a writer/actor veteran of that 1997 schlock classic, ‘Tromeo and Juliet’ – from the horror movie straight-to-video studio, Troma Films. He also wrote the screenplay for the highly-acclaimed 2004 remake of George Romero’s ‘Dawn of the Dead’ which starred indie queen, Sarah Polley.

A number of classic sci-fi and horror formula plots are revamped with some ew and yuck turns. An alien asteroid hits the Earth and vomits up slugs which infect a local man in Wheelsy, a small Texas town. Like any law of alien invasion movies, aliens are parasites which need to spread and procreate. Soon, more and more townsfolk become infected, and ‘Slither’ branches off into a zombie movie.

To Gunn’s credit, ‘Slither’ is refreshingly devoid of teen sexploitation – virgins and slutty cheerleaders aren’t getting mowed down slasher-style. There are plenty of nods to Gunn’s Troma and B-C-movie roots, but overall ‘Slither’ rises above its genre with the right combination of cast, special effects and story-telling.

Starring Nathan Fillion (‘Serenity,’ ‘Firefly’) as the town sheriff, Michael Rooker (‘Portrait of a Serial Killer’) and Elizabeth Banks (‘Seabiscuit,’ ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’), ‘Slither’ features a bang-on cast of near-greats and has-beens that have been tapped into a movie that is reminiscent of Romero, early John Carpenter, and of a relatively new director who did this monster movie in 1975 called ‘Jaws.’ It’s probably no surprise that these directors made their reputations in the 1970s. The cast are all recognizable but importantly, they are all strong, capable actors which puts ‘Slither’ ahead of the sometimes blatantly green casts of, say, SciFi channel TV movies.

As the earnest wife looking to help her ailing husband (Rooker), Banks is a lot of fun. There’s clearly some chemistry with old boyfriend, Fillion, but her role as devoted wife is charmingly quaint. She’s like a more mature Rachel McAdams.

Veteran Gregg Henry (‘Payback’) plays the sleazy mayor but the real star of the movie is the special effects team since they’ve taken these well-worn horror movie clichés to new highs (or lows?) to shock audiences with lots of cool gross-out scenes.

‘Slither’ is not perfect. It runs out of gas in its final scenes. This is, after all, a familiar story of alien invasion so it’s disappointing that the otherwise imaginative Gunn doesn’t come up with any new twists. (His warped ending of ‘Dawn of the Dead’ is a classic.) Will the sheriff be able to stop the alien invasion? What do you think?

But overall, ‘Slither’ is a well told story, with no pretensions of being anything else. Highly entertaining on the big screen, this will no doubt be a hit on video as it’s added to sci-fi horror addicts’ lists of guilty pleasures.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental.
  3.5 out of 5 stars

 
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