While the current wave of dark horror pictures certainly have their place, it's always fun to sit back and watch a good, old-fashioned, somewhat silly creature feature - that's where "Slither" comes in. The latest from writer/director James Gunn ("Dawn of the Dead" remake), "Slither" starts off with a meteor falling smack into a small Texas town. Being a horror flick this is, of course, no ordinary meteor.
While out for a walk one night, Grant Grant (Michael Rooker) comes upon the meteor, which now resembles a rather upset creature. Deciding that Grant Grant is a suitable new host, he gets hit with some sort of nasty little slug that burrows into him. Although he's married to schoolteacher Starla (Elizabeth Banks), it's a while before she realizes that her husband is slowly turning into a freaky mutant monster.
By the time that it begins to click with Starla (her finding half-eaten household pets in the basement is a hint) that something's seriously wrong with her husband (she even tries to reconcile with her monster hubby) , it's too late: before long, thousands of creepy little slugs are bearing down on the populace of the town, turning them into zombies. It's up to Starla and Sheriff Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion, best known by many from Joss Whedon's show, "Firefly") to save the town, which is looking a whole lot nastier by the minute.
"Slither" takes a bit long to get rolling (the first half hour is a tad slow), but once it does, it's a lot of fun, as the picture offers a pair of great lead performances from Fillion and Banks, who have to face off against a seriously slimy mixture of CGI and practical effects. The supporting cast is also superbly picked and turn in great performances, as well. This isn't really a scary movie, but it's definitely goopy, graphic and creepy at times.
"Slither" certainly doesn't offer much that hasn't been done before, but it's certainly a joyful compilation of bits and pieces from horror classics, blended together in a way that feels fresh and entertaining.
VIDEO: "Slither" is presented by Universal in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a perfectly respectable transfer from the studio, as the film appeared crisp and well-defined throughout - even in some of the darkest scenes. A few slight instances of edge enhancement were spotted, but the picture otherwise looked clean and clear, with no print flaws or additional concerns. Colors looked rich, deep and well-saturated, with no smearing or other issues.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is fairly straightforward, putting the surrounds to use for some scattered sound effects and for reinforcement of the music. Otherwise, the audio is spread across the front speakers. Each of the gloopy, messy sound effects are crisply and clearly presented. Dialogue also sounded clear and natural, as well.
EXTRAS: Writer/director James Gunn and actor Nathan Fillion offer a commentary for the feature. The two manage to offer a very enjoyable discussion of the making of the feature. The actor and writer/director discuss working with a fairly low ($15m, reportedly) budget, casting the feature, the tone of the film, some alterations that took place and more. It's a fun and insightful commentary that provides a nice overview of production.
A gag reel runs for a few minutes and includes some very funny bloopers. "Who Is Bill Pardy?" is a short featurette that includes some additional bloopers and the cast giving their "real" thoughts on working with Fillion. 4 extended scenes and 8 deleted scenes are offered with commentary. The "Silthery Set Tour" has Fillion offering viewers a tour of the set.
"Visual Effects: Step-by-Step" offers some looks at the various stages of some of the visual effects sequences. Lloyd Kauffman, president of Troma Entertainment and cult filmmaker, offers up his thoughts on the making of the picture in an additional featurette that has him going on a tour of the set. "Bringing Slither's Creatures to Life" discusses the film's visual/make-up effects. "The Sick Minds and Slimy Days of Slither" is a general "making of" and finally, "Gorehound Grill" looks at making the fake blood seen in the flick.
Final Thoughts: "Slither" starts a bit sluggishly, but it's a lot of goopy, gross fun once it gets going. The DVD offers very good audio/video quality, as well as a heaping helping of extras. Recommended.
The Film B