STARRING: Don Thompson, Nathan Fillion, Gregg Henry, Elizabeth Banks

2006, 96 Minutes, Directed by:
James Gunn

This 2006 sci-fi horror flick died an unfair dismal death at the box office (it made a mere $7 million). Its fate on DVD doesn’t seem much fairer either. Perhaps it wasn’t weird or off-beat enough to become a true cult item and its fate as “that cool horror flick no-one saw” seems cemented. This is a pity, because it really is a heck lot of fun . . .

Not that the movie is particularly original.

The plot steals from all over the place. An alien organism in a meteor crash-lands in the woods outside a small American town (just like in the original 1950s The Blob). In true Invaders from Mars-style the alien takes over a local resident (Michael Rooker, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) and thus begins plotting to take over the entire planet using icky-looking slug creatures. It is up to a small town sheriff (Nathan Fillion, TV’s Firefly) and the local resident’s wife (Elizabeth Banks, The 40-Year-Old Virgin) to stop the alien invasion. Along the way they have to cope with anything from mindless zombies like in Night of the Living Dead to slimy creatures that might as well have strolled in straight from John Carpenter’s The Thing . . .

Yup, Slither steals from all over the place. But it steals in style. A mordant sense of humor runs through the proceedings and the movie is a genuine thrill ride. Horror comedy is difficult, but Slither manages to balance the sly black-humored jokes well with onscreen gross-out horror. (Note: it never steers into the sadistic torture porn territory of the likes of SAW and Hostel though.) Why Nathan Fillion never became a major Hollywood star is one of Life’s Bigger Mysteries. He is simply pitch perfect at the deadpan hero. It should come as no surprise that Slither was written and directed by James Gunn, who also wrote the screenplay for the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake.

An underappreciated gem that horror fans would appreciate. Rent or buy it today.


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