Saturday, January 6, 2007


Slither (2006)

Written and Directed by:
James Gunn
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Tania Saulnier, Gregg Henry, Michael Rooker, Don Thompson, Brenda James

Ah, a good, old-fashioned horror movie. Not one of those Asian style rip-offs, with their dark spooky houses and their little dead girls. Those Asian rip-offs are beautiful to look at, and scary as hell, but you just can't go wrong with a traditional American zombirific, gut-spewing gross-out bonanza.

And despite it's American values and Southern accents, half of it was shot in Canada, which makes me very proud of it indeed.

It's set in the tiny little town of Wheelsey, which gets overrun by alien worms that turn people into misshapen ghouls. And when I say misshapen, I mean misshapen. They had tentacles coming out of everywhere, and big scabby things on their faces. All kinds of cancerous looking growths.

Despite the fact that it really did make me feel a little nauseous, I really rather enjoyed it. It had everything it needed, everything I could possibly want. Zombies, aliens, tentacle beasts, buckets of gore (people getting sliced open, getting their heads blown off, walking into basements filled with partially eaten animals), a sense of humour (often compared to Shaun of the Dead), tributes to every horror movie under the sun, and a good cast. It was also kind of scary.

I mean, I wasn't filled with dread or anything (it's not really a dread-filled movie. It's more in the squeemie catagory), but I spent a lot of time thinking about those little slimy, crawlie, mouth-invady worms, and actually managed to keep my mouth shut all night, even when I was asleep. That wasn't a bad thing. It kept me from drooling all over myself.

But enough about my bodily fluids. There were plenty of fluids in this movie (though most of them weren't mine). The monsters were pretty gooey. They were good monsters, though. The movie had very good make-up effects (actually, the CGI wasn't bad either, and they didn't abuse it), and the mosters were kind of scarier than the Pod People, in a way.

They were like the Pod People, crossed with the Thing. Okay, the Body Snatchers were pretty disturbing, but at least when they snatch your body you have the satisfaction of being dead, nor do you have to worry about them doing unpleasant things with your body. With these Slither zombies, you seem to maintain your soul, if such a thing exists. Your consciousness. Your ego, if you will. You just become part of the collective alien hive-mind and do atrocious things that you'd really rather not do (like eating people). You also become a slime-dripping, tentacle-sporting, scab-encrusted, worm-infested nasty, and eventually join the big flesh pile. Ew. They're conscious zombies.

They're easier to kill, and almost impossible to sympathize with. They don't look, sound and act like someone you know. They're the cow-munching, dog-evicerating scum of the universe and they deserve to burn, burn, burn.

I don't think I'd mind being a plant based alien all that much. At least I'd get to squeal at Veronica Cartwright, and maybe I'd get to meet Donald Sutherland (or Kevin McCarthy, depending on your preference).

What the hell am I talking about? Slither, right. Um, well, I think it deserves to go down in history as one of the best horror flicks of the '00s, along with all of those other self-conscious, loving horror-comedies. The good ones, anyway. The Scary Movies can fry in hell as far as I'm concerned, but Slither, Shaun of the Dead, Jeepers Creepers, Undead and everything else in the same self-aware vein as Scream (although Scream was obviously made in the '90s, by a person who made movies in the '70s, but you get my drift) can linger on forever and ever and eventually be inducted into some kind of hall of fame. Or whatever.


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