Edit: Guess what? It’s Shocktober and I had an episode and completely forgot that I’ve seen Slither, which is on Final Girl’s Shocktober 2012 list. I’m a dork, huh? Onward for yon review…
I’m talking about 2006’s Slither. I have to tell you, I remember when this movie came out and I thought that it looked like the dumbest movie ever. I don’t know why but I found its trailers and promos to be very off-putting. The movie has an 85% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes (Compare that with The Help‘s 74%), which isn’t bad at all, yet the movie underperformed in the theaters and Universal Pictures sought to distance itself from the film.
I actually really liked this movie and I’ve spent at least fifteen minutes trying to figure out why it was disliked. I think that part of the reason is the time that it was released. Slither came out in 2006. By 2006, there had been three Saw movies. I wonder if the public just wasn’t into horror-comedy and instead wanted more torture. But Shaun of the Dead was released in 2004 and did comparably well. So I’m not sure exactly what the issue is, but I think that Slither would have done better if it had been released now. Movies like the Fright Night rerelease and Suck and Piranha 3D have done well lately. Maybe the public is ready to laugh again.
Critics, especially us basement-bound bloggers, have derided Slither as derivative of past horror flicks, but I think it’s a clever homage. Watch this movie, is the central theme of this entry. Give it a chance! Don’t be prejudiced like I was!
Just like the movie Critters, something falls from space, but this time it carries a malevolent slug parasite. So kind of like The Blob–the original or the remake. Local big shot Grant Grant (Yes, his name is Grant Grant) stumbles across it and pokes it with a stick. Not the right thing to do.
That looks just like something I’d want to touch. Only not at all. Ick.
Grant is infected by the parasite and immediately starts to behave a little oddly. If a little oddly is defined as making a den of leaves in the basement, storing loads of meat in said den, and killing all of the neighborhood pets. Grant’s wife, Starla (Elizabeth Banks–I was so psyched to see her, especially because she’s going to be Effie Trinket in the upcoming movie of The Hunger Games) starts to become suspicious and turns to her childhood friend and sheriff, Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion) for help. Can I tell you how weird it is to see Nathan Fillion *not* trying to kill Buffy and her friends? I’ve always associated him with my least favorite season of Buffy but I’m glad I could get past that and genuinely enjoy his performance. Maybe I should watch that Firefly set that someone got me.
Anytangent, Grant has undergone some changes. He’s definitely looking a little Dick Cheneyish.
Plus, he’s developed a really nasty temper and cuts someone in half.
This is my second-favorite cutting-in-half scene in a movie. My first is the scene in Ghost Ship when the wire is cut and everyone on the dance floor is sliced in half. The rest of the movie was pretty terrible but that almost made up for it.
Grant also made a local woman, Brenda, his womb for their slug offspring. Brenda’s referred to as the niece of Randy Flagg–Stephen King reference FTW!
She explodes and this is when the real trouble begins. Fast-moving, small slugs ram themselves down people’s throats and turn them into staggering slug-zombies. They’re everywhere, they swarm, and they’re just really gross.
A slug tries to attack local teen, Kylie, but she kills it with a curling iron. She discovers that the monster goes from planet to planet, reproducing or just eating the local population. The monster’s origin story actually reminded me of the Lilith’s Brood series by Octavia E. Butler, wherein an alien race tries to save the last human survivors after a nuclear war, but will only help if the humans agree to let them share DNA and become an entirely new species. The aliens travel through the universe, sharing their DNA and picking-up traits of intelligent species throughout the universe. Their help will lead to the earth eventually becoming a huge biological spaceship for them to move on throughout the galaxy. I really can’t believe that I just compared Slither to an Octavia E. Butler book but there are definitely similarities.
This is becoming a really tangent-filled entry, if I were a stronger editor I would fix that. But I do think the tangents are useful so they stay. Suck on that! I mean, I’m sorry. Kylie joins Bill and Starla in their quest to defeat Grant and his many slug-babies. Many of the townspeople become infected and since Grant is what I guess is the alpha-male of alien slug monsters, they all have his memories of Starla. So they kidnap her and bring Starla to Grant.
That’s an actual line from the movie and is one of the reasons I really liked Slither. I think that’s a very human reaction to have. Plus, the movie doesn’t take itself seriously but still delivers some scares. It’s not all humans suiting themself for their LAST STAND EVAR with Bill Paxton/Pullman motivating them. It’s more about small-town people doing the best they can against some…fucked-up shit. Plus, I really enjoyed the winks and nods to horror fans. The voice of the doctor that Starla calls about Grant is Rob Zombie. The movie takes place during a deer-hunting festival and there are banners saying “Henenlotter’s Saddle Lodge presents Deer Cheer.” Frank Henenlotter was the mind behind Basket Case and Brain Damage. Mostly, I love that the movie isn’t quite a zombie movie and isn’t quite an alien invasion movie but has my favorite elements of both.
But most of all, I love this scene. Look what Kylie’s little sisters are reading.
If you want to win me over, give me Goosebumps, The Babysitter’s Club, Sweet Valley High, Nancy Drew, or anything by Christopher Pike. I’m especially pleased that The Girl Who Cried Monster is the book one of them is reading (I can’t tell what the other one is, but I think it’s You Can’t Scare Me). That was one of my favorite’s in the series and set me up for a lifetime of loving horror. Stine, you were the gateway drug.
I have to reiterate my original point, that you should give this movie a chance and let’s make it a cult classic.