Starring: Elizabeth Banks, Nathon Fillon, Michael Rooker
Director: James Gunn
Running Time: 95 mins
Slither is an American film about a small town which is taken over by an alien plague that turns people into hungry, vicious monsters.
Horrifyingly gruesome and utterly revolting at times, you’d think that Slither would be an unbearable watch. However, it’s a horror film with a great sense of humour, and while it’s certainly not only there to make you laugh, its tongue-in-cheek take on classic horrors of the 1950s means you’ll find yourself smiling just as much as you’ll be squirming in your seat.
There really is a lot to love about Slither, and much of that comes from director James Gunn’s brilliant eye right the way through this movie. Striking a near-perfect balance between genuinely scary horror and a fun-loving play on genre tropes, Gunn manages to make what could have been a truly revolting watch a whole lot of fun.
Complete with great humour, an enjoyable soundtrack, energetic performances and entertainingly far-fetched twists and turns, the movie is an absolute joy from start to finish, even when it’s at its most disgusting.
But even the rather revolting and gruesome nature of some moments here adds to the movie’s fun factor. It’s not just an entertaining horror because you’re seeing a bunch of characters run away from peril, but also because you’re faced with ludicrously disgusting imagery that’s actually an odd joy to witness.
With a simple premise and an even simpler monster enemy, Slither doesn’t waste any time going into overly complex exposition or sci-fi lore, rather spending all its efforts on telling an enjoyable and memorable story.
Saying that, however, the film is still a really well-written one, and even though it prioritises a fairly simple premise, that doesn’t mean there’s no depth at play.
The characters in particular are really well-developed. While there’s not much to them beneath the surface, writer-director James Gunn works with the cast brilliantly to make them all play a worthy role in the film, with some genuinely likable heroes, and some enjoyable swipes at generic side characters in horror movies.
And that’s the final thing that makes Slither so much fun, its playful take on classic horror tropes. You’ve heard the premise before – an alien lands on Earth and begins taking over a small town and killing everybody – and that’s exactly the point.
With something of The Blob about it at first before moving into a zombified version of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Slither has all the hallmarks of a campy ’50s horror sci-fi movie, but with a few more modern sensibilities that make it a genuinely entertaining watch on its own in the modern day.
Overall, I really enjoyed Slither. It’s pretty gruesome at times, and its story is rather simple, but it’s a really impressive effort from director James Gunn, who manages to balance genuinely captivating horror with a fun-loving play on classic genre tropes. There are moments when it’s a little tough to stomach, but on the whole, Slither is a heap of fun, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.7.