Saturday, October 4, 2014

Movie Review: Slither (2006)

Slither (2006) written and directed by James Gunn

A meteor comes crashing down on the small southern town of Wheelsy. The meteor is unnoticed by the locals, they're too busy celebrating the imminent opening of deer season. A few days before, local rich guy Grant Grant (Michael Rooker) wanders off into the woods with Brenda, the little sister of an ex-girlfriend, where they run across the meteorite. The alien creature inside infects Grant who slowly turns into a horrible monster over several days. The alien/Grant monster has a loving wife who is a local school teacher. He needs to spawn a mass of fast moving slugs to take over the townspeople and turn them into zombie-like minions so he can take over the world. Rather than infect his lovely wife, he goes after Brenda while everyone is celebrating the countdown to midnight. It's up to the local sheriff (played by Nathan Fillion) and whoever is left to stop the monster before the whole world falls under his control.

The movie is a blend of horror and comedy, a formula I usually find appealing. The humor here is so-so. Too many of the jokes rely on a character swearing as the punch line. I don't mind two or three such jokes but after several it just seems like the writer doesn't know how to write a punchline and relies on the actors to deliver the line well enough to get a laugh. Fillion is good at varying his delivery for comic effect but other cast members weren't. Plenty of other jokes work well but not enough to make this more than a mediocre comedy.

The horror aspect is full-on gory with lots of dead, eviscerated animals and at one point, a guy is split open and all his insides fall out. The alien/Grant monster becomes more repulsive throughout the movie with his final incarnation being a lumpy, room-filling monster. The high-speed slugs that he spawns are quite effective at being creepy and scary. They move fast and there's hundreds of them, giving them the sort of menace that was completely lacking in a movie like Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, where the small monsters just weren't scary. The slugs climb into people's mouths to take them over, quite unpleasant in a proper horror film way.

I have mixed feelings about the film. The monster, with his back story and his blending into the Grant character, is interesting and original, even if his plan is typical. Nathan Fillion is a charming actor but the script doesn't give him enough to shine. The gore level is pretty high but there's no off-setting level of humor (like in Evil Dead II) or thematic weight (like in Day of the Dead) to make it worth enduring. Gore for its own sake is not good. And, I am afraid, neither is this film.

No comments:

Post a Comment