Movie News & Reviews

On DVD: 'Slither' perfect flick to satisfy horror fix

Justice is hard to come by. Car crashes strike drunken texters and defensive-driving mothers alike. Innocent men end up on death row. And in the greatest tragedy of them all, sometimes awesome movies make fewer millions than the millions it cost to make them.

Fixing society may be a lost cause, but movie studios can still make money from DVDs. With that in mind, do your part to restore harmony to the universe and watch 2006's Slither.

Elizabeth Banks and Michael Rooker's marital problems aren't helped when Rooker's taken over by a parasitic alien. Insatiably hungry, the only thing standing between his infection of the whole town -- and possibly the world -- is local cop Nathan Fillion.

Rooker's grand plan doesn't kick in right away. The first leg of his global scheme goes no further than impregnating bar skags and eating the neighbors' pets, or as Finley residents call it, "Tuesday." Like Shaun of the Dead, Slither has much higher ambitions than that.

Writer/director James Gunn isn't content to simply make a good horror movie. Despite the fact that's not so simple -- just ask Nightmare on Elm Street 2 through 6, Tobe Hooper's post-Chainsaw Massacre career, and every non-Exorcist horror film prominently featuring a child -- Gunn has to try to make Slither funny too.

Well ... good call on that one. Because a mayor casually cussing out his citizens in the street is funny. So's the obscene but smart dialogue and the alien's incompetent lies. When Banks asks Rooker what's wrong (at this point his head looks like a skin-wrapped pine cone), he tells her it's a bee sting.

Like chocolate-coated Oxycontin, Slither's humor is wrapped around a solid core of horror bliss. Its CG is more Tyrannosaurus MS Paint than Jurassic Park, but there's plenty of gore and plenty of gross. Rooker ends up looking somewhere between Jabba the Hutt and the thing you coughed into the sink after smoking that arm-sized cigar. His slimy alien superpowers will put a frown on the face of everyone with plans to someday eat.

Its zombie apocalypse is more tribute than ripoff, but the final confrontation is a thing all its own, inventive and hilarious. Part horror, part comedy, Slither, unlike this upcoming line, is all good.

* Contact Ed Robertson at edwrobertson@gmail.com

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