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Slither (2006)

Starring Nathan Fillion, Michael Rooker, Elizabeth Banks

Directed by James Gunn


Horror needs more people like James Gunn. I think we’re all in agreement that guys like Eli Roth and Rob Zombie are good for the genre, whether you like their work or not. They’re real horror fans making films for horror fans, not just looking to pick up another paycheck like Rupert (The Fog remake) Wainwright. James Gunn is one of us. He is a die-hard horror fan that just wants to make a film that horror fans like him want to see, and that is exactly what Slither is.

We all know Gunn can write from his stellar work on the Dawn of the Dead remake. The good news is he can actually direct too! Gunn doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel with Slither; he just has a good time rolling it around. He isn’t shy about tipping his hat to his favorite genre films and gives many props to his old Troma days. He wears his influences on his sleeve for all to see without any shame. He’s just taking bits and pieces of his favorite films and giving them a fresh spin and having a blast doing it. This film isn’t a rip off by any means; rather it’s a love letter to the films we grew up with.

Here is the premise: A meteor lands in the woods near the small town of Wheelsy and is discovered by Grant Grant (Rooker), who has had one too many drinks at the local watering hole after his wife Starla (Banks) denies his sexual advances. The meteor cracks open, and something shoots out of it and bores its way into his chest. Suddenly Grant starts to change and has a new hunger for meat. As his hunger grows, his body begins to change as well. Once he realizes his new purpose, he goes out to spread his seed and turn the rest of the town into flesh hungry zombies. Meanwhile Starla is being stalked by Grant, who wants to turn her, too, but the town’s sheriff Bill Pardy (Fillion) tries his best to protect her while also trying to save his little town from an alien zombie takeover.

The cast deliver top-notch performances across the board, but Michael Rooker and Gregg Henry (who plays the town’s mayor) steal the show. A lot of this has to do with the writing; Gunn gives his actors great material to work with. It has a well-balanced mixture of horror and comedy that is very difficult to pull off, but Gunn manages to do it right with Slither.

As for the zombies, the blend of special make-up and visual effects works well together. There were several times where I couldn’t tell if it was a practical make-up effect or something created with CGI, and that’s a good thing.

Slither isn’t trying to be an instant classic; it isn’t a serious or scary horror film. It’s just trying to be a really fun popcorn movie, the kind of film that you take a date to and hold on tight as you laugh, jump, scream… and hopefully get laid after. If you love films like John Carpenter’s The Thing, Dawn of the Dead, Night of the Creeps, From Beyond, The Blob, or The Hidden, then you will dig Slither. It’s an old school monster movie that takes off from the very beginning and doesn’t let up until the end.

I hope people turn out strong for the March 31st release of Slither to show their support for this film because as horror fans we need to show the studios that people like James Gunn deserve to be making films. Like I said before, what horror needs are more people like James Gunn.

4 out of 5

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Jon Condit

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