The only substance you’ll find here is the slimy, gooey type (and a healthy appreciation for the genre as a whole).
Grant Grant (Michael Rooker) is the wealthiest man in a small town. His trophy wife, Starla (Elizabeth Banks), was a childhood sweetie of the town sherriff, Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion). On the eve of deer hunting season, Grant accidentally infects himself with an alien that fell to earth inside a meteor, setting into motion a plan to infect the entire world. It’s up to Sheriff Bill, Starla, the drunken town mayor (Jack MacReady), and a few surviving townsfolk to stop the global invasion.
You wouldn’t think the guy credited for writing the original Scooby Doo movie would have come up with something this twisted, but twisted, fun, and disgusting it is. To director James Gunn’s credit, he’s willing to show anything and everything the MPAA will let him get away with in an R-rated film: exploding bodies, infected children, dismemberments, you name it. Horror purists have a new cult favorite!
The story, however, does drag a bit, possibly because we knew too much going in from the trailers and previews (yeah yeah, she’s in the barn, get there already!) And in an effort to make the ending a bit more epic, that, too, gets bogged down a bit. Maybe there were a few unfinished sequences, effects, or other gags that never made it in (I expected something more spectacular for the mayor) or a few cut scenes, but with a running time of ninety-five minutes, it feels a little on the lean side.
No one really stands out in the cast; everyone knows their bit and looks like they had terrific fun with it. The comedy is fairly dark, but most of the gags are left to the audience to find the humor in rather than call attention to the absurdity of the situation. The biggest problem a film like this has going against it is the very small but appreciative niche of fans who still remember how much fun gory films can be. Unfortunately, Slither alone probably isn’t going to generate a new legion of gore lovers until this film hits DVD, but this is definitely a step in the right direction jetisoning the PG-13 wannabees and Ringu clones polluting the industry right now!
(a two and a half skull recommendation out of four)