Slither (2006)

Description[from Freebase]

Slither (stylized as SLiTHER) is a 2006 science fiction-horror-comedy film written and directed by James Gunn, and starring Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks and Michael Rooker. The film was produced by Paul Brooks and Eric Newman. Slither is James Gunn's directorial debut. A meteor housing a malevolent alien parasite crashes into the town of Wheelsy, South Carolina. While frolicking in the woods with Brenda (Brenda James), local big shot car dealer Grant Grant (Rooker) is subsequently infected and killed by the parasite. The parasite takes over his body and absorbs his consciousness and memories. With the alien (called "The Long One") now in control of his body, 'Grant' begins to slowly change into a hideous tentacular sluglike monster. No one suspects Grant of the serial pet murders that have occurred around town, however his wife Starla (Banks) begins to question his health. He avoids doctors appointments and crafts lies to keep her in the dark. Sensing her distance from her husband, her childhood crush, town sheriff Bill Pardy (Fillion), attempts to reassure and comfort her while not acting on his own feelings.

Review

Slither

The word itself, lolling off the tongue as it does, conjures up images of those slick, slimy denizens of swamps, sewers and sloughs. And writer/director James Gunn (2004′s Dawn of the Dead) couldn’t have picked a more perfect name for this queasy, rollicking throwback to the monster cinema of the drive-in days.

The film is a goofy, but intelligent, combination of David Cronenberg’s seminal slimy freak-out Shivers, the underrated teen zombie slugfest, Night of the Creeps, The Hidden, and one of the countless ribald, hicksploitation flicks that clogged the drive-ins in the ’70s (I don’t think I’ve seen such a cast of less-than-attractive performers outside of Quest for Fire.)

Like any good film of this type, Slither opens with the arrival of a meteorite, immediately invoking The Blob and Creepshow. The gooey inhabitant of this wayward space flotsam crash lands in the backwater of Wheeley. It’s a town of drunks, the handicapped and the desperate. The main players are the mayor (Gregg Henry), a foul-mouthed party animal, the chief of police (Nathan Fillon, Serenity) who pines for his lost love (Elizabeth Banks, Seabiscuit), and said lost love’s husband, the rich, bald (and surprisingly buff) Grant Grant (Michael Rooker). When Grant stumbles upon the creature and it forces its way into his body, a thoroughly disgusting transformation takes place. Grant goes from buff to blistered and oozing, twin tentacles sprouting from his belly to inject baby worms into the unsuspecting. Yes, it’s about as nasty as it sounds. That’s when Grant’s not eating up the pet population of the town.

Eventually Grant transforms into a pink squid-like monstrosity that scours the countryside for meat, and one of Grant’s victims balloons up the size of a barn, her writhing body home to millions upon million of blood red, foot-long worms looking for mouths to squiggle into.

Cheerfully ugly, Slither is also exceedingly funny. None of the characters (or even the actors, for that matter) take themselves too seriously. That works when Gunn saddles his geeky cast with hip banter; some of the conversations could have been throwaways from a Tarantino film. And when the banter’s in the midst of some really goopy goings on, it works.

But it’s not all joking and gross outs, there are some scary sequences mixed into this monster mash – elevating the film from simple farce. And Slither moves along at a breakneck pace once the monsters are unleashed; Gunn unloads every gross weapon in his cinematic arsenal. Not only do those infected by the worms become cannibal zombies, but they spit the same greenish acid that circulated through the alien in Alien. Luckily, he knows where to draw the line and fall back on original ideas, saving the film from collapsing into a heap of campy homages.

Slither is a post-modern creature feature for hipsters. Cloying smart, gleefully mischievous and resplendently, stupendously gross.

The DVD includes deleted and extended scenes, a gag real, commentary track, and numerous behind-the-scenes featurettes.

Wasn’t this in a Woody Allen movie?

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