Thursday, August 09, 2007

Movie Review - Slither (2006)

Let me start off by saying that I absolutely loved this movie.

I wanted to get that out of the way beforehand as I want to make it clear how biased this movie review is going to be. Slither is,without a doubt, one of the best horror movies of 2006.

This movie has it all, friends. It’s got alien invasions. It’s got zombies. It’s got blood, gore, and a partially nude chick in a bath tub. During a crucial love scene, it’s got Air Supply. Air-fucking-Supply! How do you beat that?

The movie tells the story of a small town invaded by an alien one quiet, summer night. The main characters are Bill Pardy (played by Nathan Fillion), Elizabeth Grant (played by the very hot Elizabeth Banks), Grant Grant (played by the incomparable Michael Rooker), Kylie (by the equally hot Tania Saulnier),and an outstanding cast of supporting characters. Bill Pardy’s the sheriff of the small town who’s never quite got over losing the love of his life, Elizabeth, to local rich guy, Grant Grant. Grant, on the other hand, doesn’t realize how good he’s got it. He’s out in the woods, trying to get some extra-marital nookie with local girl Brenda (Brenda James) when he runs into a meteor and its deadly occupant.

Grant is infected by an alien who hops from planet to planet, conquering and eating every living thing on it before moving on to another planet. Cue the madness as Michael Rooker spends the majority of the film chewing up the scenery (and a big chunk of the small town) as he changes into a slimy, octopoid creature. He infects Brenda with his evil, alien seed and she balloons up as big as a house with the wriggling, wormlike progeny of the alien. These little slugs then attack the town, forcefully squishing their way into people's mouths - where they turn their hapless victims into shambling, murderous zombies.

Dear dark gods… can this movie rock anymore?!?

This film excels in so many ways it’s actually hard to pinpoint what makes it so great. The special effects were super. In a world where every gods damned movie you see is nothing but CGI, there was some refreshing mechanical and makeup creature effects. The CGI that there was, was well done and melded seamlessly with the action. The gore effects were a slice of fried gold, friends.

The true winner here, though, was the script. Writer and Director James Gunn showed true genius in crafting a script that, while faithful to the conventions of a horror movie, also maintained a razor-like balance of humor throughout. Gunn hails from a respectable horror heritage that includes work with the Troma company, as well as having written the Dawn of the Dead (2004) script, and you can tell that he loves horror like we all do. He’s a fan, and he’s living the dream. And Slither is, without a doubt, his greatest accomplishment to date.

The best scripts in the world are as only as good as the actors who bring it to life, though. Imagine, for instance, that George Lucas has passed on Sir Alec Guinness as Obi Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars trilogy. Say, instead, that he chose Jerry Lewis. Think about that for a minute and send me hate mail later for putting that image in your head. (“Glaa-Aa! I just felt a great disturbance in the Fo-Orce! Lay-ay-dy!”)

That said, I think Gunn made the perfect casting choice with Nathan Fillion. I have to admit that I’m a big fan of Nathan Fillion. He’s the reason I love Firefly and Serenity so much. (Well, him and the character Jane. You gotta love gorram Jane!). I’ve actually been a fan of all of the work I’ve seen him do. From Two Guys, A Girl, And A Pizza Place to his turn as the evil preacher in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And the thing that makes me like him so much is that he has a way of delivering a line that imbues levels of humor, believability, and Everyman-ness that appeals to me. And he’s found the perfect vehicle for this in the character of Bill Pardy.

(Over on Phronk’s site – I saw a news posting that Joss Whedon may consider a Serenity II if the special DVD of Serenity I does well at Christmas. Whether this is true - or a ploy to increase DVD sales via Browncoats{Firefly/Serenity fans} - I admit I’m a little giddy at the thought! I love Serenity!)

This movie, besides being a great gore fest, is a laugh riot and has some of the funniest lines ever committed to paper. And Nathan Fillion and Micheal Rooker both breathe so much life and humor into their characters. I’d be remiss in not mentioning another great character who comes close to stealing every scene he’s in. Greg Henry, who’s made a career out of playing slimy, weasel-y, dirt bags outdoes himself with his portrayal of Mayor Jack MacReady. He’s an unapologetic and selfish prick who could care less that his ambition and own self interest outweighs any altruism or sense of public service.

This movie, besides being fun to watch, also gives one the sense that it was a blast to make it. Every actor enjoys their parts and Gunn gave them license to let go and just enjoy the hell out of it.

So, in the final analysis, I’d say that – with no doubt – this is essential horror viewing dear readers. Zombies, aliens, various oozing and exploding body parts, humor, horror all commingled to make this – as I said before – one of the best horror films to come out in years. Go. Go now! Go rent the DVD and revel in the unabashed splatter fest that this movie is.

Doctor Zombie’s Rating: 5 out of 5 Chomped Brains!!!


Phronk said...

I agree again! Slither was just fun to watch in every possible way.

Nathan Fillion should be in more stuff. Or at least, in more stuff that doesn't get canceled (Drive was actually pretty good I thought).

And yeah, I would spooge myself if Serenity II got made. I dunno if I can bring myself to double-dip the DVD just to support the cause, but still, there's so much more left to that world. We need Book's back story!

Horror Movie Medication said...

Great review. I totally agree with you. This movie had a great script that was pulled off wonderfully by some great actors. They were able to be serious without being so serious to kill the humor.

I think this movie plays an important role in the horror genre beyond just another zombie/alien flick. I call it the King of the B-Reels.

I go into more depth in my own review. If you have time you should check it out and tell me if my ideas hold up.