This was a fun movie! I’m not sure how I missed this when it came out earlier in the year but I did. Slither is an alien/zombie hybrid that wears its b-film roots cheekily on its sleeve and that sense of fun lets writer/director James Gunn’s debut rise out of the mire of the genre.
Slither isn’t full of dread and darkness—it’s full of one-liners, blasts of violence and a quirky sense of fun from start to finish. I love it when I see a movie and have no expectations and it sneaks up and gives me a surprisingly good time as it unfolds (I shouldn’t have been totally surprised as Gunn wrote the recent Dawn of the Dead remake—one of the few remakes I’ve seen in years that I liked). Slither is such a movie. It doesn’t aim super high because it doesn’t want to be anything other than the gory, funny b-film it is, but it succeeds on nearly every level.
Slither concerns aliens who land in a small town and begins to slowly take over the locals one by one. The aliens turn you into zombies after they take over you but these are zombies a little different than the normal walking dead, as they exist to support the alien they are connected to. I liked that little twist in the story as I’m always looking for different takes on the zombie film.
Gunn gives most of the actors lots of funny things to say in the film. Firefly’s Nathan Fillion plays the local sheriff, Elizabeth Banks (who might be in my next Top5 list) plays another local and a character actor named Greg Henry plays the foulmouthed mayor in a lively role. Jenna Fischer from The Office has a small role and gets to use the word “skeeter” in a sentence.
I haven’t looked at the films that might make my top 10 for 2006 but based on sheer fun level—Slither is going to be up for inclusion. It’s got everything you want in a mainstream b-film: aliens, zombies, giant worms, graphic cartoon like violence, funny one-liners left and right and a fast pace that knows not to stay around too long and wear out the welcome. Isn’t that more than enough?