September 6th 2006 03:28
Writer/director James Gunn (who penned the remarkably effective re-envisioning of Dawn of the Dead, 2004) has made a wonderfully unapologetic horror film especially for the fans; for the people, by the people (Gunn used to work for cult horror-sleaze company Troma).
Slither (2006) is a straight-to-video release here down under, but hey, it works fine on the small screen (or bigger screen, depending on the size of your home movie theatre set-up). In fact, it’s one of those repeat viewing flicks, ‘cos there are so many in-jokes and horror movie references splashed throughout.
In a cracked, gooey, interstellar nutshell, the movie follows the plight of a small mid-American town desperately trying to deal with the infestation of an alien organism that is turning the entire town into deranged, raw meat chompin’ zombies. These shells of their former selves spit icky green acid too.
Slither shamelessly “borrows” from various other horror movies. The writer/director would call it homage, but hey, let’s not split hairs. The best directors in the world steal from other films; just look at Tarantino, his entire career has been based on ripping off lesser known genre flicks.
It’s not the size of the sword that matters, it’s the way you swing it. And Gunn swings it with a fast pace, a witty humour, good casting, decent production values (considering it’s inherently B-grade), and, most importantly, lots of blood, gore, and - keeping in mind we’re dealing with a very slimy alien creature – a high squelch factor.
Imagine a movie cooking pot with the chef a fan of B-grade sf-horror. What would he throw into the stew? Hmmm, some Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Night of the Living Dead (1968), Night of the Creeps (1986), and Shivers (1975), a dash of The Blob (1958/88), and a hint of Possession (1981). Stir it up! And wash it down with plenty of beer and popcorn.
Slither might not win any awards for originality or win critical kudos for its existential ideas on the nature of invasion and conquest, but in derives a certain chutzpah and spunk from its amalgam, which makes for 90-odd minutes of gooey, gory fun. Go rent it. The cosmic squid-slug has landed.
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