Rating 3

Written and directed by James Gunn

Starring Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Rooker, Gregg Henry and Matreya Fedor

This comedy-horror, a kind of homage to films like ‘Invasion Of The Body Snatchers’ and ‘It Came From Outer Space’ with added ‘Critters’-style gore, received almost universal good reviews, although Roger Ebert wasn’t impressed. It was written and directed by James Gunn, the writer of the two ‘Scooby Doo’ films, and was made on a small budget - $15 million, not much more than a third of the cost of ‘Serenity’, as way of a comparison.

The buzz about the film had begun before it was released into cinemas and all the signs suggested it was going to be a box office hit. However, the Internet buzz and favourable reviews failed to translate into an actual audience for the film. It grossed less than $8 million in America and only just scrapped over the $12 million mark worldwide.

I don’t think ‘Slither’ is quite the classic suggested by some of the reviews. The small-town Midwest setting is perfect, although this is no ‘Matinee’. It didn’t impress me like ‘Tremors’. In fact, I probably found ‘Evolution’ funnier, although ‘Slither’ is undoubtedly a better film.

By all accounts, James Gunn has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the genre. I think the visual reference to the David Cronenberg film ‘Shivers’ in the publicity and in one scene in the film itself was a wrong turn. However, it is an enjoyable and quite light-hearted film and it does have some very clever touches, such as the ‘Crying Game’ karaoke moment, that plays as a good-natured parody of David Lynch.

Nathan Fillion and Elizabeth Banks work well together and they are a likeable screen couple. They both have something that hints at the “Golden Age of Hollywood”.


No comments: