There is something to be said for a horror movie that is just gross. Something where the imagery, can make your stomach churn. The Thing accomplished this feel, and so did James Gunn debut film, Slither.
Slither is about a small town that is attacked by an alien parasite. The parasite infects a local named Grant, played by Michael Rooker. Through him, the parasite goes on to infect the rest of the residents of the town. A small group tries to stop him, led by Bill, played by Nathan Fillion, and Starla, played by Elizabeth Banks.
This leads to a lot of very funny, and also very gross scenes. The movie is full of the usual dark humor from James Gunn. The movie is twisted and is a testament to what Gunn can do with an R rating. He does not hold back, and the practical effects he uses for the deformed monster Grant becomes after becoming infected, are great. There are also a lot of digital effects, which look fine, but the real treat are the effects that are practical
At one point, Grant manages to impregnate a local woman. And, well I just have to show you, there is no good way to explain it.
That is gross, but also awesome, and scary. The idea of slugs, ripping out of a woman, and trying to get into my mouth, is scarier than anything in most other horror movies. I can’t speak for everyone, but I am way more scared of something trying to get inside me and use me as a host than I am of some machete-wielding psychopath.
The acting is great, and the characters are all interesting. They are not all likable, in fact, a few are very unlikable. But they are almost all well written. The characters who get screen time, are not wasted. I understand why they do the things they do. They are not flat characters.
One small complaint I have is that the CGI on the slugs could be a bit better. It is not awful, but it is clear they are effects added in post. Which o be fair, may not be anyone’s fault. The film did not have a huge budget. They most likely did the best they could, and since everything else looks great, I can give it a pass.
Unfortunately, Slither did not get traction early and ended up bombing at the box office. It would go on to become a cult hit, but the success was too late to earn it a sequel. With James Gunn now being a known director, it would probably do better know, but he is a bit busy with the Guardians of the Galaxy movies for now. I would love to see Gunn make another horror movie in the future though. I would also love him to get a chance to direct another R rated movie where he can really show off his imagination.
But despite the financial failure, it did get recognized by critics and showed off Gunn’s talent as a director and writer. It is a fantastic movie.