Slither is an alien invasion monster movie, and as you may have guessed, there's nothing mind-blowingly unique or artsy about this film. This is awesome because a lot of the artsy stuff is horridly vapid and over-hyped. If you're looking for some George Romero-type thrills, you've got some right here. Slither is the perfect “popcorn and dimmed lights” kind of movie when you just want to watch something truly creepy and fun.
Nothing Like Small-Town America
Even from the get-go, the film doesn't make any pretenses about its plot. It takes place in the sleepy town of Wheelsy, although it may as well be any of the small towns in America. The traffic is slow enough that the cops make use of their speed guns to clock whippoorwills. The mayor is free to swear at the top of his voice in public and deer hunting season opens with a big celebration. When trouble strikes in this film, it strikes silently. The poor residents don't even bat an eyelash when a growing number of pets go missing. They don't notice even when Grant gets infected and begins to act strangely. Eventually the trail of mutilated livestock gets impossible to ignore and a young girl suddenly goes missing. A -- somewhat incompetent -- team lead by Sheriff Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion) goes up in arms to uncover the plague's mysteries.
Grant, our patient zero, has a wife named Starla (Elizabeth Banks) who is depicted as a girl who got married to escape a life of poverty. We'd give her an award if we could for remaining loyal to Grant despite his mutating, quickly rotting flesh. She aids in the Sheriff's investigation, with Bill being infatuated with her since junior high.
On a Rollercoaster, the Bumps are the Attraction, Not the Scenery
On paper, the plot and the characters do sound quite generic and they are, for the most part. However, the combination of having a predictable plot with characters that hasten their own demise does make for a comic combination. Seeing Starla profess her undying love for her husband who looks like the swamp thing drowned in cement is as funny as it is barf-inducing to watch. Having an officer use a tiny octopus as props to ask the townspeople if they've seen any wandering tentacle monsters is equally silly, though we couldn't help but slap our forehead on that one.
It also helps that the action sequences are decent. The slugs slither out of bath tubs, through small gaps in the doorway and leap down the throats of their hapless victims. The people are near helpless against the slimy critters, making for some heart-pounding, anticipatory scenes. Once someone is infected, they become slow and lose all coordination.
Understanding the Aliens
Essentially, once infected, the people become zombies who have a hankering for raw meat. They do retain their memories, as evidenced by Grant's humorous attempt at covering up his mutating body by locking himself up in the basement while explaining to Starla that he's simply keeping her away from a birthday surprise he concocted for her. A couple of months to early, that is.
The alien creatures are genuinely hair-raising. Not only is the slime off-putting but considering their mode of transport, well, you'll never look a bath tub the same way again. The creatures are then shoved down the victim's throats. They use their slimy, octopus-like tentacles to carve a hole on the hapless person's innards. And did we mention they mate? Well, they do so in the most horrific way possible and they're not the least bit shy about it.
Hard to Pass Up, Unless You Have Already Seen it
So what's the verdict? Slither is most definitely a B movie, but it is an entertaining one. This is an honest-to-goodness horror flick that will make you laugh aside from keeping you scared. The ridiculousness is at an all-time high and somehow, it sets the movie apart from your average scary film. The alien creatures, although not the most unique or cleverly designed, are able still able to disturb. Also, since the film's zombie-types retain their memories, they are a step up from your generic, foot-shufflers.
Basically, the movie manages to combine all these odd elements to come up with something that just works. If you're looking for a movie in the genre with a dash of lighthearted clichés, then you've got a contender in Slither.