The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Creepy-crawly movie ‘Slithers’ its way into theaters

Mark Bemenderfer | Friday, April 21, 2006

“Slither” is must-see movie for true horror fans. Its success is derived not from the scares it creates, but from the atmosphere it inspires. A simple precursory examination of the movie wouldn’t create very high expectations for the film. At first glance, the plot of space slugs and cannibalistic zombies seems hackneyed at best. However, the film pulls off the absurd premise beautifully, and the audience’s sense of reality is never mocked.

In ‘Slither,’ town beauty Starla, played by Elizabeth Banks, is married to the town rich man, Grant Grant, played by Michael Rooker. Unfortunately, their marriage is less than perfect and after a spurned advance, Grant goes off on the town.

While at a bar, he meets Brenda, played by Brenda James, and they go off into the woods together. While there, they find an asteroid and an alien life form. The alien attacks Grant, entering his body, and over the course of the next couple of days, it begins to transform him into something less than human, spelling trouble for the small town of Wheelsy.

Written and directed by James Gunn, “Slither” pulls off the rare feat of being entertaining and engaging from beginning to finish. Whereas many modern horror movies lose their momentum about halfway through, “Slither” steadily builds to its inspired, grossed-out climax.

Part of this can be attributed to veteran screenwriter James Gunn. His screenwriting experience covers everything from the “Dawn of the Dead” remake to the live-action “Scooby Doo” films.

Part of the movie’s success is also derived from the ensemble cast. Comprised of actors such as Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks and the ever-excellent Gregg Henry, “Slither” manages a strong cast of smaller actors that work surprisingly well together. Fillion can be recognized from the television show “Firefly.” He plays Sheriff Bill Pardy, a wise-cracking lawman who harbors a less-than-subtle crush on Starla.

Gregg Henry, an actor notorious for playing the jerk in movies, stays true to form as the arrogant Mayor Jack MacReady. Immediately amusing in his own way, Henry manages to become an incredibly sympathetic character despite the fact that a real-life equivalent would receive an opposite reaction.

Horror and sci-fi fans, the target audience for the film, will be the ones to get the most enjoyment out of it. Essentially an homage to an assortment of movies of both genres, the movie draws from others such as “The Fly,” “Night of the Creeps” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” While it helps to have a wide background in films such as these, “Slither” still proves entertaining for newcomers.

Gory and clever are the best words to describe “Slither.” The sharp dialogue delivered by the cast, and extreme gore found within the film, should appeal to horror and sci-fi fans alike.