In some breaking news on Saturday, it was reported that Slither director James Gunn was Marvel’s guy for the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie. While the man is also known for directing the Rainn Wilson-starrer Super, it is largely considering to be the former of the two that is responsible for the studio’s interest. Not only did the feature include a very human response to an alien presence, but it did so comically which is big staple of Marvel Studios’ take on the genre. With that in mind, I dove right into the movie for the first time ever to perhaps gain some insight as to what can be expected come 2014.
For those unfamiliar Slither, it is a comedy/horror/action film that stars Nathan Fillion as a small town sheriff named Bill Pardy who ends up being the only thing between a peaceful tomorrow and a full blown zombie apocalypse. There is a bit more to that though as there is a scant love story between his character and Elizabeth Banks’ Starla Grant who happens to be married to the man who becomes the brain behind a zombie horde. Needless to say, keeping her safe is a major priority.
The first gripe I had is a misleading genre. While such a film pretty much guarantees that both comedy and action elements will be downplayed, it was the third classification for Slither that made no sense. Calling the effort ‘horror’ would be much like calling Men in Black a fright fest as well. There was a tremendous amount of gross out moments not unlike the Will Smith-led trilogy.
Eventually, one might come to the conclusion that Slither is nothing more than a Men in Black movie if a small town had to deal with it rather than some secret government agency. Perhaps such a comparison is unfair though because there is not much in line of special effects. The zombie overlord ended up looking like a mutant from the original Total Recall which is not a compliment for a film made only six years ago.
Both of these issues received a pass by critics that ultimately helped the movie garner some really high praise. Reviewers seldom criticize a film for being an offering in a genre they did not like or for simply costing pennies to make. This is not something that will be ignored with most viewers and that includes myself who fail to be entertained by gross out filmmaking.
With that said, there are some real gems in this movie that may make it worth the view. For one, you get to see Nathan Fillion drop a few F-bombs, but more importantly you get to see him act in a part that he nailed and the same goes with Elizabeth Banks. Both actors brought the goods and made an otherwise uninspiring plot fairly fun to watch.
My grade is a C+, but if you relish this type of movie it will probably be one of the more enjoyable features you have seen in a while. At the same time, I would recommend squeamish audiences stay clear of Slither.