Gross-out comedy is guaranteed box office gold, but for one reason or another, gross-out horror-comedy is a tough sell. However, if there’s one name which sells gross-out horror-comedy, it’s Troma, known most famously for the “Toxic Avenger” series. Writer/director James Gunn rose through the ranks in Troma Entertainment, and makes his (B-) feature directorial debut on “Slither.”
Grant Grant (Michael Rooker) seems to have it all (except for maybe a good name). He’s a prominent businessman in a small South Carolina town and married to the beautiful Starla (Elizabeth Banks). But beneath the surface, Grant is in the thrones of a mid-life crisis. His wife is much younger, and best friends with the local sheriff, Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion), who secretly still carries a torch for Starla.
An insidious alien parasite provides the odd solution for Grant’s problems. After a strange encounter with the creature, Grant begins to undergo a hideous mutation. To make matters worse, Grant is producing strange slugs which infest the local population, turning them not only into zombies, but also extensions of his own ever-changing body, complete with his bland personality. Bill, Starla and an ever-dwindling group of survivors must stop Grant’s zombie plague before there’s no humans left in the town or the world.
Though Gunn borrows heavily from “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and “Night of the Creeps” alike, his twisted trademark humor is what sets this movie apart. Pre-“Castle” Nathan Fillion and pre-“30 Rock” Elizabeth Banks make likable and humorous leads, which is absolutely necessary in a project as over-the-top as “Slither.” Just how over-the-top is “Slither”? Well, put it this way: Fillion throws down with a zombified deer in his office.
For a B-movie, “Slither” doesn’t have many faults. It’s frantic, funny and even terrifying, but all in the correct doses. If there is one caution, however, I will say it’s certainly not for the faint of heart. From Grant’s increasingly disgusting mutation to his way of making slugs, “Slither” is not a movie you watch on a full stomach – or with anything in your stomach at all.
Still, for those adventurous enough to give “Slither” a view, the movie is a must for B-movie fans. Like all the best horror-comedies, “Slither” masters both genres, with a truly terrifying premise patched together with enjoyable characters and a sharp sense of humor. Just understand, you’ll never look at snails or bath tubs the same way again after seeing this movie!
Buy it for $6.30 shipped on eCampus.