What do Avery Jessup, Mal Reynolds and Pam Beesly have in common?
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The film opens with a meteor/capsule containing an alien parasite crashing to earth. Then we are given a brief introduction to small town life in of Wheelsy, South Carolina as well as an introduction to Grant and Starla. While Starla strives the whole movie to be a good wife, Grant is less than chivalrous from the get go. While frolicking with another women he stumbles upon the meteorite and is violently infected by it. It takes control of Grant but he continues act as Grant while it buys meat, kills dogs, and mutates.
Sensing her distance from her husband, Starla contacts town sheriff Bill Pardy (her childhood crush) who attempts to reassure and comfort her while not acting on his feelings.
Grant infects a women with hundreds of his offspring. He hides her in an isolated barn where she becomes massively obese as baby alien slugs grow inside her. Pardy leads a small group of officers on a hunt for Grant, only to be lured into a trap where a massive, swollen blob of a women explodes releasing hundreds of the alien slugs. Most of Pardy's group become infected, zombie-like creatures. The infected begin to want Starla and talk to her as if they are Grant.
Before long, the rest of the town becomes infected by the parasites and are all controlled via a hive mind connection with Grant. During a failed bonding attempt with the girl name Kylie, we learn about the parasite's history and plans to infect the rest of the world. Pardy, Starla, Kylie, and Mayor MacReady make it back to town and decide to kill Grant. Unlucky for them. the townspeople attack their vehicle and capture Starla.
The survivors, Pardy and Kylie, follow Starla only to discover the infected are melding into one giant creature. Starla charms the monster by calling him "Grant" and telling him they can be together, but as they get close to each other, she stabs him in the chest. While trying to infect Pardy with his tentacles Pardy attaches one to a small propane tank, filling Grant with gas. Starla shoots the monster, causing it to explode. Huzzah!
The Good the Bad and the Gorey
This is a funny movie. I feel like characters react in the same way I would react in that situation, namely, "Holy Crap! What is going on?!" There aren't galant heroes or conniving scientists, just a bunch of really freaked out people. It's funny to take a step back from the horror movie and remember how ridiculous it all is. I feel like Nathan Fillon's character, Pardy, embodies this ideas the best. He seems genuinely shocked and confused by the bizarre events. You could say he is playing the same role as Mal from Firefly, without so much sass. There are some great one-liners, the Mayor (Gregg Henry) being particularly hilarious. Even Elizebeth Banks is funny as her zombie killing ferocity replaces her southern daintiness.
Don't let the humor fool you, this movie is plenty scary. While most of them are the tried and true scare tactics of classic horror, that doesn't make them bad. The jump-out-at-ya and the ominous-villain-starring-through-the-window are classics because they are good. The heroes are constantly getting cornered by zombies or slugs, cause plenty of tense moments. You'll spend plenty of time saying, "Holy Crap! Get out of there!"
This is a must see for all fan of Splatter Films. I love the gore/special effects of this movie because of the balance between CGI and make up/models. CGI makes gore unrealistic. It's easy to spot and easy to disconnect from. However for fast moving shots like swinging tentacles or slugs pouring out of a giant women, CGI works well. It's hard to call the gore realistic since it's a story about aliens and slugs. Some if has an almost cartoonist style, such as the blob women and the mutations of Grant. But when the gore was meant to be realistic, as in stabbing zombies or eviscerating hunters, it does look real.
Recognition should be given to the make up/model guys of this film for taking on some huge design projects and pulling them off swimmingly.
A behind the scenes look at the Special Effects of Slither.
My Thoughts on it All
Slither's director James Gunn, is best know for writing the screen play of the Dawn of the Dead remake. It was a bold move to remake a beloved classic, but he pulled it off by understanding the genre. Gunn was able to take the basic ingredients of a zombie movie, add in a dash of personal creativity, and create a new pillar of the zombie sub-genre.
Part of me feels that is what he did with this movie. Gunn said he was inspired by the Splatter Films of the 80's (Evil Dead II, Return of the Living Dead, etc) and wanted to bring back some guts and gore to the horror genre. Now this definitely is a Splatter Film, I also see this as a creature movie.
James Gunn's Own words
I love creature movies. As a kid, whenever I went to the video store, they were the fist ones to catch my eye. Since then I've watched a lot of creature movies, some of them good, a lot of them bad. Most creature movies end up as a "b reel" film because of low budget, poor writing or both. But all them have the certain elements of: the creature secretly operating the around humans, the gradual discovery of the creature, the creature's grand revel and the teamwork that kills the creature. It's a tried and true formula that works.
Slither is meant to be a culmination of b-reel creature films. It follows the same formula but adds in good acting, good dialogue and great special effects. So some people would say that Slither is uncreative or unimaginative and they do have a point. But really, isn't it just refreshing to watch a b-reel movie that is actually good? I see this movie as vindication for the formula that gave me my favorite movies like Tremors, Jeepers Creepers, and Eight Legged Freaks. And making the movie hilarious and fun to watch at the same time just makes it all that much sweeter.
SPOILER FREE REVIEW
Slither is a Splatter Film that scratches your itch for gore and monsters. The film follows a man infected by an alien parasite and his need to infest others. While the movie does follow a clique horror movie formula it brings some great humor to the mix. Don't think that just because it has laughs that it isn't scary With some good jump-at-ya scares and some gory deaths, this movie is plenty capable of creeping you out. With some good acting and some excellent specie effects this movie is a special honor to b-reel horror movies every where.
Final Grade: B+