Monday, May 01, 2006

Slither (2006)

James Gunn's directorial debut shows that Troma taught him well: It's an icky, sticky creature-feature with an astronomical splatter quotient, a sidelong sense of humor and a willingness to offend everyone it sees (or everyone that sees it). Basically, it's my kind of movie. It's stuffed to the gills with aliens, killer slugs, exploding heads, exploding bodies, mind control, Runnin' Zombies(TM), mucus, blood and muck. Complaints of excess are irrelevant -- this type of film thrives on being too much in every direction. That type of excess can be thrilling, but it can also be wearying; fortunately, the characters and Gunn's goofy sense of humor keep it grounded. Nathan Fillion does his usual thing as the square-jawed snark who has to suck up his courage and save the day; meanwhile, Gregg Henry seems to have been given his own corner of the film where he can rant and curse and generally take the piss out of everything. (Best comedic moment: when a frantic appraisal of the increasingly-dire situation devolves into a debate between Henry and Gregg about the semantics of the word "Martian.") Michael Rooker, though, is the linchpin. He's very good in a difficult role as Grant Grant, the shitkicker who becomes the flashpoint for the alien invasion/infection; he manages to wring emotion out of his conflicted character even under a ton of makeup that makes him look like a mass of pot roast. The makeup, augmented by CGI, is impressively sick-minded (is that a Society homage late in the film?), and Gunn tosses a couple unexpected wrinkles into his script. (The hive-mind zombies were pretty neat.) Even the horror-geek references that seem standard with films like this these days are well-handled: Instead of going the usual route by naming characters after George Romero and John Carpenter (which is so common that it's practically a cliche), Gunn name-checks Frank Henenlotter, visually quotes Shivers and names a gun store after James Woods's character in Videodrome. It's a big gift-wrapped valentine to sleaze fans from a sleaze fan who hit it big, and damned if it didn't tickle me fucking pink.

Grade: B+


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home