Sunday, October 20, 2013

Day Two Hundred and Ninety-three - Slither, "Watch out, Mal!"

James Gunn is hit or miss with me.

While I can really get behind his Troma work, as rough as it is, some of his mainstream stuff (like Super or his short for Movie 43) doesn't really appeal. That said, I really enjoyed Slither for the terrible movie that it was. It's a cheesy 80's monster flick with millennial trappings and actors.

With famous faces like Elizabeth Banks, Nathan Fillion, and Jenna Fischer, you'd kind of expect more moolah attached to this project, but this was made fairly early in their careers before they became bankable movie and television stars (Firefly notwithstanding).

Set in a small town whose biggest celebration seems to be the annual kickoff to deer season, Slither tells the story of an extraterrestrial encounter with a parasite that takes over or consumes every living thing it encounters. The organism happens upon a controlling husband (Michael Rooker) and implants itself within his brain, gaining his memories in addition to its already overriding urge to procreate and decimate the local ecosystem.

That's not to say it is totally remorseless in its march to domination, as he/it cannot seem to find the will to infect his/its wife (Elizabeth Banks), Starla, and instead turns to a local floozy to spawn its tiny, mind-controlling slugs. This all comes to the attention of the smitten local sheriff (Nathan Fillion), who hasn't gotten over his childhood crush on Starla... but who is certainly out of his depth when it comes to alien parasites.

It's definitely a cheesy monster flick that I could easily see being made as a drive-in double feature in the 50's or 60's. The powercreep steadily advances until all but a lucky few avoid the squiggly hordes of brainslugs, only for said survivors to conveniently deduce and thwart the mother-(or, in this case, father)-brain. It's even got the cliche deus ex device in the form of a young teen who has a brush with the hivemind, but gets away with precious knowledge on how to defeat the menace.

Still, cheese aside, it's actually a pretty fun little movie.

It doesn't go overboard on special effects, but what they do have doesn't seem to look too out of place. The prosthetics are used sparingly, but are decent and they blend fairly well with the CGI. Sure, it's not as good as, say, WETA did at the same time with LOTR, but with the budget they had (15 million), I think Gunn and company did a good job. What could've devolved into a SyFy movie of the week (a la Sharknado) actually turned out all right.

I especially liked Gregg Henry as the foul-mouthed mayor and, well, Nathan Fillion can charm his way through anything. I kind of felt bad for Jenna Fischer, as her role didn't have anything to it, really, but everyone's gotta start somewhere... and while Elizabeth Banks was okay, she didn't really thrill, either. C'est la vie.

Overall, Slither is a great popcorn flick that is best watched with friends. You don't need to riff it, as it stands well enough on its own, but it wouldn't hurt it that much to add a few one-liners of your own. In the end, it's definitely fun Halloween Spooktacular fare.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

1 comment:

  1. This was back when James Gunn and Jenna Fischer were still married, I believe.