Director James Gunn began his director debut with the comedic horror film Slither which was released back in 2006. The film had a cast of up and coming actors who should be well known to many film and television audiences of today. The cast’s ensemble included Elizabeth Banks, Michael Rooker, Tonia Saulnier, Gregg Henry and a personal favorite Nathan Fillion.
Slither starts out with Grant Grant (Rooker) out in the woods with one Brenda Guitierrez when they witness something fall to earth. Grant cannot help but go and investigate what has fallen into the woods outside of their little town of Woodsville. If it wasn’t bad enough that Grant was out cheating on his wife, this investigation would lead to a life changing event for Grant as he’s taken over by an alien parasite.
What happens after this parasitic takeover would change the life of every inhabitant of the town of Woodsville. Animals and pets begin disappearing from the town and Sheriff Bill Pardy (Fillion) begins to investigate. At the same time Starla Grant (Banks) begins to notice differences in her husband Grant and tries to get him to see a doctor with Grant avoiding the issue at every chance. As to add to confusion around town Brenda goes missing and it’s only during the search for her do we find out more on what Grant has been “seeding” around town.
Slither is director James Gunn’s directorial debut and he was also involved with the writing of the film. Gunn used much of his love for Horror films in the making of this film and his work at Troma as influence to the film. This will show throughout the film as some of the comedic lines and actions in the film may have come from Troma and other horror films.
Slither is one of those horror films that can cause a divide by those who view the film. Some would say that the comedic nature of the film is lost on viewers as there has not been a sting of comedic horror films that have really made it made stream at the time the film was released. Also there was the fact that when the expectant Brenda baby bump pops, her broad leads to a town full of zombies like creatures.
However, for those who are fans of comedic horror this film hits all marks from a witty dialogue and great scenes. Some of those scenes happen during the most intense parts of the film and help to elevate some of the seriousness of the film. Another great point is how this alien parasite that had taken over Grant is in love with his wife Starla as much as Grant is himself. It’s amusing to watch the “zombie” like town’s people show their love for Starla. Another ironic twist is fans of Rooker will know him as the zombie fighter Merle from Walking Dead, but here he is the start of the plaque.
Slither is one of those guilty pleasures that you will put on to watch on occasion just to enjoy a laugh and a creepy film. The way the parasitic children wonder throughout town in search of people in it is ingenious. You get to laugh as they will do just about anything to find a host to infect. You will find yourself cringing as you watch people attempt to escape the disaster that is befalling this small town and laugh at their attempts. Most of all you will be sure to find at least one or more characters you will relate to or cheer for during the viewing.
Slither may not have been the jumping off point for much of the cast but it’s great to watch so many actors in a film such as this. It’s not every day you get a cast like this together without the film being a major studios next blockbuster film. Along with the cast is Lorena Gale who passed in 2009 but horror fans will remember her from The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and Chronicles of Riddick. Jenna Fischer from TVs the Office is also in the film and at the time was director James Gunn’s better half. So, with all of this talent it’s hard to believe the film did not get a better reception, but as they say it’s all about the timing.