Published on June 21st, 2008 | by simeon0
Mixing elements of The Blob, The Fly, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Night of the Creeps and countless other horror films, the new Horror/Comedy Slither has oozed its way into theaters with a mix that will likely delight hardcore horror fans.
The film is set in a small southern town and features the usual mix of horror film stereotypes. There is the Chief of Police named Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillon) who watched over the sleepy town while secretly holding a torch for the lovely Starla Grant (Elizabeth Banks). The only issue is Starla’s older husband Grant (Michael Rooker), who is not only a very prosperous man, but took Starla in when she was younger and provided for her.
Of course there are also the stock characters of the loud and obnoxious Mayor of the town (Gregg Henry), who is more trouble than he is good and spouts a string of profanity and insensitive remarks that would make a Drill Instructor blush. Add to the mix the various assortments of yokels, deputies and towns folk, and you have a setting ripe for invasion.
The invasion arrives in the form of a meteor that breaks apart in the atmosphere save for a small segment that lands harmlessly in the woods. Unfortunately, an organism has hitched a ride on the meteor and in short order a parasitic organism has infected Grant causing him to exhibit odd behavior and have a ravenous desire for large amounts of meat in all forms.
Despite the changes, Grant still has his eye firmly on his wife and as the changes become more and more radical, he becomes even more fixated upon his wife.
Eventually Grant’s odd behavior and ongoing transformation has him on the run from the authorities who organize a manhunt to bring him in and end the carnage in his path.
Naturally things do not go as planned as before long there are hordes of slug like creatures unleashed upon the town whose entire purpose is to infect the town making zombies out of all who are infected.
As if all of this was not bad enough, Bill must figure out how to protect those uninfected people as well as search for a way to end the devastation at all cost.
Slither is a film that strives to blend horror and comedy but seems better suited to be a comedic send up of the horror genre. Unlike the “Scary Movie” series, it does not come in as a parody but rather presents itself as a horror film, yet one that seems devoid of any real suspense or frights. There is plenty of gore, violence, and other mayhem in the film, but at my advanced screenings the vast majority of the film garnered laughs from the audience rather than shrieks.
Since there were several segments of the film that were obviously intended to create laughs such as the zombie family trying to coax their uninfected daughter out of hiding by proclaiming she is missing out on family fun day, and a very gory, yet humorous outcome for a yokel who decides to stand down a very infected Grant armed only with a pistol.
James Gunn who did such a good job with the “Dawn of the Dead” lets it all out as writer and Director for Slither, but seems unsure if he is trying to make a comedy or a horror film with comedic elements. To me the film works best as a comedy as the over simplified resolution combined with the strained performances and simple plot as well as the genuine lack of any suspense or scares seriously undermined this film for me as a horror film.
That being said, if you look at the film as a gross out comedy set amidst a generic horror backdrop where the plot, acting, and other pitfalls were designed elements, then the film works.
If you are looking for a bad horror movie with some funny moments, than Slither may indeed be your thing, as it is either a very bad horror film, or one of the best satirical tributes of the genre to date. I choose to pick the latter.
3 stars out of 5