Slither finally made it to the screens this week and I went to see the film on Friday. It is definitely one of the best “gore” horror films I have seen in a handful of years. And judging by the reaction of the crowd in the cinema, the film was a success.
A hark back to the classic “gore” horror films of the 70s and early 80s, Slither tells the story of a Grant (played by underrated B-grade regular Michael Rooker), a man who is taken over by an alien, transforms into a bloated multi-tentacle monster that impregnates a woman and unleashes a hoard of slugs into the community. These slugs enter other humans via their orifice and turn them into extensions of the Grant. The only thing on Grant’s mind is to win back the love of his wife.
Slither works not because it is original but because director James Gunn clearly understands the workings of the genre. Immediately recognizable influences include the works of David Cronenberg (Rabid), George A. Romero (Night Of The Living Dead) and John Carpenter (The Thing) among others. And anyone who has seen Japanese horror-porn anime features like Legend Of The Overfiend will immediately recognize the phallic tentacles of the transformed “Grant”.
Despite borrowing liberally from these works, I never really felt that the film was riping off the cult favorites mentioned above. This is because Gunn tampers the gore with well-timed comedy relief that audiences responsed positively to and he shifts the focus from the communty’s impending disaster to the marital relationship between Grant and his wife.
Gunn’s decision to use old school prosthetic gore effect is I think the main reason this film comes across as so much more entertaining than the newer breed of films that rely purely on computer generated images to create the horror (I’m thinking of Silent Hill which I saw earlier in the year). Computer generated gore simply does not have the impact of tomato juice and blood concoctions splashed all over the place.
I thoroughly recommend genre fans to check this out Slither.