Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Halloween movie month: Slither
Basic plot: A meteorite carrying an alien parasite crashes in a small town in South Carolina, turning the residents into zombie-like monsters.
Okay, so there is a bit more involved in it than just what's said in the basic plot. The alien takes control of Grant (Michael Rooker), and gradually transforms him into a squid/slug/mutant thing. During the transformation, alien-Grant uses tentacle-like appendages that come out of his chest to "impregnate" a woman. The woman doesn't exactly give birth to his slug spawn, so much as she just kind of explodes and thousands of the creatures go scurrying about. When the slugs attack, they take over the residents, much in the same way that Grant was taken over.
Probably the biggest complaint that I have is about the accents. Some of the accents aren't so bad (Nathan Fillion doesn't overdue it too much, and Michael Rooker's raspy voice lends itself well to keeping accents in check), but Elizabeth Banks's accent is just way overdone. I don't mind accents when they help to make the setting seem more authentic. But when an accent is done poorly, it makes the setting seem even less authentic. Maybe it's just because I live in the south and hear various southern accents everyday, but I notice it even more when a southern accent is done poorly. There are a wide variety of southern accents, but actors/actresses inevitably end up going with just one over-stereotypical version. It's kind of like when someone tries to do a British accent, but just ends up sounding like Eliza Doolittle. Aside from a few overdone accents, the acting is actually pretty good (I'm a pretty big fan of Nathan Fillion and Michael Rooker).
The "horror" aspect of this film plays primarily on the fears of swarms, disease, and rape/violation. The swarm fear is pretty evident when the slugs start taking over. And the disease comparison is referenced directly in the movie. As far as the rape/violation fear, there are a couple of things that really stand out to me. The first of which is that the way that alien-Grant and his slug offspring attack their victims is a bit rapey. The second, and maybe a bit more subtle, is that Grant (who is the first and primary monster) was already a bit of an incestual pedophile before turning into an even bigger monster.
The visual effects weren't all that great. But aside from the scene that shows an x-ray view of the parasite going into Grant's brain, they weren't all that bad either. At least, they were good enough to show that they were taking the horror side of the movie seriously enough to care that it didn't look horrible.
There were a few little easter eggs paying homage to James Gunn's (director/writer) beginnings with Troma films, as well as what I assume were inspirations for him when he was a kid. The ones that I caught were: Toxic Avenger and The Blob were on tv, Lloyd Kaufman had a cameo (no lines), and one of the kids was reading a Goosebumps book.
Recommendation: rent. I liked Slither, and I would definitely watch it again. Overall, it's pretty funny. Nathan Fillion has some good one-liners, and does the dead-pan delivery very well (plus a pretty great fight scene when he goes back to the police station). Aside from a few overdone accents, there is good acting with good actors. Like Shaun of the Dead (though, not nearly as funny), Slither is primarily a comedy, but it also does the horror seriously. I enjoyed Slither, and I don't really have any major complaints about it. But there also isn't really anything about it that makes it stand out that much. I was going back and forth between a 3 and a 3.5 rating, but eventually decided that it falls just short of reaching a 3.5. But it wouldn't have taken much more to be a 3.5.
Be sure to check back soon for the next review in Halloween movie month.