31 Days of Terror - 'Slither' (2006)
31 Days of Terror will cover a wide array of horror films leading up to Halloween. We'll be posting our thoughts and feelings on some of our favorites every day for the next 31 days. If your favorite doesn't make it, it doesn't mean we don't like it, so speak up in the comments below!
James Gunn's Slither is the perfect gonzo horror film served with generous helpings of comedy and...wait...romance? Yep. While being a competent scare-fest from beginning to end you also get a steady flow of blackly comic moments along with my personal favorite love triangle (square?) ever.
Slither takes place in the small town of Wheelsy, South Carolina. Grant Grant (yes, Grant Grant) is on the verge of an affair with his wife as he stumbles through the woods near the town, chasing his high school crush. He comes across a meteorite and is infected by its contents. Grant slowly becomes a monster, and like any species, he feels the need to feed and multiply.
Slither is a film that will make you belly-laugh just as much as it will make you grimace in disgust. Gunn really knew what he was doing here, and it's baffling that a film like this was given the green-light. I'm trying to figure out how he pitched this in a way that sounded palatable. I mean, it's about a man that gets infected by a meteorite creature, then impregnates a woman with his leech babies, which then grow inside her until she is basically the size of the barn in which he keeps her hidden. She explodes; sending the leech creatures everywhere to infect the entire town. Oh, and Grant is basically a hive-mind that now controls all of the zombified locals. It's just amazing that this thing exists and was actually given a decent budget. The film didn't exactly succeed at the box office, but it garnered great reviews and now has its own cult following.
The cast is also one of the main reasons this film is such a delight to watch. You've got Nathan Fillian, who plays Sheriff Bill Pardy. Fillian brings all of the swagger and quick wit that he normally does to all of the characters he plays. Pardy is secretly in love with Grant's wife, Starla, who is played by Elizabeth Banks. Banks is very fun to watch as she copes with her husband's transformation; which leads to some hilariously awkward scenes where she tries to get intimate with him. And then there's Michael Rooker, who takes his meat diet to the next level in hilarious fashion. To this day, every time someone grills steak I will mumble: "Meat, meat, meat", and of course nobody gets it. Finally, we have Mayor Jack MacReady played by Gregg Henry who has one of my favorite cinematic tirades where he shouts: (excuse the language) "Where is the Mr. Pibb? I told your secretary to pack Mr. Pibb. It's the only Coke I like. Goddamn Brenda exploding like a water balloon, worms driving my friends around like they're goddamn skin-cars, people are spitting acid at me, turning you into cottage cheese, and now there's no fucking goddamn Mr. Pibb?" Perfection.
There are some top-notch practical effects in Slither, especially for the creature that Grant becomes. That thing looks terrifying. One scene where Starla is in her house and Grant is outside trying to get in is especially memorable. I still jump when he appears in the window out of nowhere. I also love when the police and townspeople go on the hunt and we are treated to some pretty grotesque and inventive bits of violence. The movie also has an over-the-top finale that really basks in the glorious ridiculousness of it all.
If I were to compare this film to something else, I really don't think I would be able to. I guess it has elements of Tremors, but dialed up to 11 and, in my opinion, Slither is a lot more frightening. This film is worth checking out if you want to see a completely unique horror film that will make you laugh, cry and probably vomit.