Written by: Gore-Topia
James Gunn's Slither is quite simply the best horror film of 2006, if not the best film of the year period. It is also probably the best horror comedy of all time. "What?!" you may say. "What about Shaun of the Dead, Dead-Alive, or Evil Dead 2?!" The truth is I love all of those films, but they don't quite have the emotional resonance of Slither, and the humor in those movies can be too cartoon-like at time. Slither is in no way a spoof. It is humorous in the way a smart, independent movie is humorous. Everyone in the movie plays the ludicrous situations as if they're absolutely real.
The cast of fan favorites each turn in career-best performances. Elizabeth Banks (Seabiscut, 40-Year-Old Virgin), shows that she has what it takes to be a leading lady. She plays the role of Starla Grant like a modern Hitchcock heroine. Michael Rooker (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) shows his comic and dramatic shots - and he's able to make you feel for a creature through 300 pounds of make-up. Nathan Fillion turns in, I think, a much more nuanced and humorous performance than he did in Serenity. But biggest kudos go to Gregg Henry as Mayor Jack MacReady, who has more quotable lines than any character in recent histroy. "This sh*t's about as far away from God as sh*t can get!" The film also features a number of character performances by less-well-known actors, such as Don Thompson, who really knock it out of the park.
The script, by Gunn, is chock-full of lines that will be spouted by fan boys from now until the end of time. It moves at an incredibly fast pace, and is pure fun from start to finish. The score by Tyler Bates is terrific, in sort of an old-school over-the-top Bernard Hermann way. The soundtack, made up by some of today's top alt-country artists, such as the Old 97's and the Yayhoos is catchy and works. Gunn uses Air Supply's "Every Woman in the World" in a gore-drenched montage that will long be considered a classic.
There are many in-jokes in the film (the bar is named Henenlotters, after Basket-Case director Frank Henenlotter, and the name of the school is Earl Basset High, named after Fred Ward's character in Tremors), but none of these take you out of the film and you won't miss anything if you don't know them. I dragged my girlfriend to the film, who hates horror movies. She was scared to death, but she loved the movie and thought it was the funniest film she had seen in a long time. Much has been made of the film's similarities to other movies like Night of the Creeps and Shivers. What isn't mentioned as often are the strkingly original moments of the movie. Most amazing is the birthing sequence, when the Brenda Blob explodes and is full of many slithering parasites. The group-hive-mind is also a lot of fun, especially in how it relates to Starla and her husband.
Many other directors, such as Roth, Zombie, and Aja, are directing interesting horror films these days. But, as far as I'm concerned, they're not even in the same league as Gunn. I can't wait to see where his career takes him. Overall, a more fun time at the movies is nearly impossible. I can't give this film a higher rating.