R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir-scr James Gunn
with Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Rooker, Gregg Henry, Tania Saulnier,Brenda James, Don Thompson, Jennifer Copping, Jenna Fischer, Haig Sutherland, William MacDonald, Rob Zombie
release US 31.Mar.06,
UK 28.Apr.06
06/Canada Universal 1h35

Erm, your husband appears to have turned into a squid, ma'am: Banks and Fillion

fillion banks rooker

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Slither This rip-roaring horror romp combines alien and zombie genres in a way that's both exciting and hilarious, stirring in a lively, nonstop narrative with complex characters and excessive gore.

In small-town South Carolina, police chief Bill Pardy (Fillion) takes a steady-handed approach even when things start getting very strange after a billion-year-old alien slug emerges from a meteor. Bill's old flame Starla (Banks) thinks something's up with her husband (Rooker), and indeed, he starts hoarding meat and developing an icky skin condition. Which is nothing compared to what happens to an old flame of his (James). Soon the town is overrun with parasitic red worms that turn the townsfolk into a rampaging army.

For his directing debut, writer Gunn (who wrote the Dawn of the Dead remake, as well as both Scooby-Doo movies) gleefully combines 50s-style monster movies with 80s-style carnage. He keeps digital effects to a minimum, which gives the film a classic feel--the creatures are right there on the set, and you can tell. And even the side characters are develop into intriguing people without dull stretches of exposition--the action explodes right from the start, and we pick up everything we need to know about them (and more) as we sprint through the mayhem.

The cast responds well to this style of storytelling, drawing us into both the action and interaction. Fillion catches Bill's unruffled Southern attitude--a man forced to make a life-or-death decision at every turn. Rooker amazingly develops sympathy for his man-squid, especially as he interacts with Banks through what looks like acres of makeup. Saulnier adds a wonderfully feisty tone as a tough teen. And Henry is hysterically obnoxious as the foul-mouthed mayor.

The nearest recent comparisons are the Aussie gem Undead and the micro-budget British horror comedy Evil Aliens. All three daringly blur lines between genres and really go for over-the-top grisliness. But Gunn trumps them both, because his film actually works on both levels, genuinely making us jump with fear and revulsion even as we're giggling at the script's witty, silly touches. It's a scruffy, chaotic mess. But horror fans should love it.

cert 18 themes, violence, language, gore 6.Apr.06

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Slither Michelle Martin, Chicago, IL: 5/5 "Slither was a great movie and performances by all actors were excpetional. Nathan Fillion did an awesome job as Bill Pardy. He delivered his lines with ease and believability. Elizabeth Banks and Michael Rooker were also Phenomenal. The script was well written that was witty and funny at the same time. This is a must see!" (9.May.06)
2006 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall