Wednesday 18 April 2012

From the archive: "Slither"

Quietly but industriously, Troma graduate James Gunn has been carving out a career for himself as a genre specialist. After scripting the Dawn of the Dead remake, and directing the fun superhero romp The Specials, Gunn takes another step up with a monster movie that affords him a bigger FX budget while preserving the same sense of lo-fi craftsmanship that distinguished his earlier work. Slither finds the small hunting town of Wheelsy thrown into disarray when local bigshot Grant Grant (Michael Rooker) gets bitten by an alien-worm-thing, giving him a taste for raw meat while unleashing a plague of sentient slugs on the community. It's down to Grant's trophy wife Starla (Elizabeth Banks) and an out-of-his-depth deputy (Nathan Fillion) to restore order. Gunn's screenplay builds nicely, playing witty riffs on the business of extra-terrestrial penetration while providing plentiful opportunities for the game cast to shine. The wonderful Banks, a hugely underrated comedienne, gets a long-deserved leading role, and there's a very funny turn from Gregg Henry as the town's pottymouthed mayor. Even Fillion, the lunkish hero of last year's Serenity, finds his laid-back charm perfectly attuned to proceedings. Not quite in the Tremors league, but creditably icky fun nonetheless.

(April 2006)

Slither screens on Channel 4 this Friday at 11.40pm.

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