Every once in a while, a movie comes along that just makes you feel gross, makes you feel like you desperately need a long shower in the most scalding, steaming water your pipes can possibly manage. These kinds of movies aren't typically my thing; I prefer scares over being grossed out, but sometimes the concept works, especially when paired with a healthy dose of humor.
Today's movie has been sitting on my shelves for at least a year, a forgotten pre-viewed video store DVD purchased at a going-out-of-business sale. Since a good chunk of my reviews have been pretty much "safe" flicks from the 70s and 80s, most in genres I'm pretty comfortable with, I decided to step out of my comfort zone a little bit today. Or... maybe a lot. Grab your barf bags, folks, it's time to take a look at 2006's Slither.
As the film opens, we see an asteroid hurtling through space toward Earth. We are then introduced to a schoolteacher named Starla Grant and her jealous husband Grant. Yes, you read that right. His name is Grant Grant. After Starla turns Grant down for sex, Grant goes drinking and leaves the bar with a younger woman named Brenda. While walking in the woods, Grant and Brenda discover a strange, fleshy object that injects Grant with a parasite.
The alien parasite takes over Grant's mind, giving him an insatiable craving for raw meat. Thinking Grant to be dead, Brenda is shocked when he arrives at her home and infects her. When Grant's behavior becomes too bizarre to ignore, Starla investigates the basement and finds her husband's bloody nest. Grant attacks Starla, his body mutated and mishapen, but she's rescued by police chief Bill Pardy (played by Nathan Fillion), who's investigating Brenda's disappearance. When the mutated Grant leaves a trail of eviscerated animals in his wake, Bill leads a posse to capture him. The search leads the police to a secluded barn, and that's where things really start to get weird.
Like I said, I don't typically go for the gross-out body horror featured in Slither, but writer and director James Gunn is no slouch, and he manages to seamlessly blend "It came from outer space" drive-in creature features with zombies and gross-out body horror. The alien-Grant hive mind is a fun concept, although a little played out at this point. We already saw it in another one of this year's movies, The Puppet Masters (check out my review here). To be fair, Slither pulls it off well, so I can forgive Gunn for being a little derivative. The cast works well together, and Nathan Fillion's trademark comedic delivery will leave Firefly fans crying for more... which is kinda what they're good at. Let's just be honest.
Overall, Slither is a fun creature feature with memorable characters, great effects, and just enough humor to keep the audience engaged. I certainly don't recommend watching it on a full stomach, particularly if you have a high-protein diet. If you're one of those "dinner and a movie" types, however, might I recommend giving the red meat a rest and having a nice salad instead?