There have been more than a few horror films released theatrically this year, and with the studios' reluctance to screen genre films for the press, some have gone relatively unnoticed (and deservedly so). But there is always a film or two more deserving of the attention it receives theatrically, which is where home video comes in. If you had blinked your eyes, in all likelihood you would have missed Slither, a film so subversively entertaining it makes its botched marketing campaign and disappointing theatrical run all the more frustrating. This is the film that should have gotten all the hype afforded Snakes on a Plane (although that film didn't fare well at the box office, either).
Written and directed by James Gunn, Slither is a hilarious, gore-splattered homage to the horror films of the 1980s, as well as a take on classic alien-invasion movies like The Blob and It Came from Outer Space. Nathan Fillion (Serenity) stars as Bill Pardy, the sheriff of a small town ravaged by deadly, sluglike aliens that enter through the mouth, turning victims into cannibals that share one mind. The goal of the symbiotic aliens is nothing short of world domination, and if you wanted to read between the lines, you could probably view the film as a metaphor for neoconservatives trying to take over the world. But who wants to work that hard while watching a movie? Michael Rooker, in rare form, co-stars as Grant Grant, an overbearing husband who has been transformed into the hideous leader of the deadly aliens. Part of Grant's mind is still intact, and it longs for his lovely wife (Elizabeth Banks), the object of Bill's affection, leading to a love triangle more bizarre than King Kong's.
Having cut his teeth as the writer of the Dawn of the Dead remake and Troma Entertainment's cult film Tromeo and Juliet, Gunn proves himself a more than capable director. A great companion piece to the original Tremors, Slither has enough scary tension and severed limbs to keep horror fans happy, and enough twisted dark comedy to get those with a twisted sense of humor laughing out loud. R.