Directed by James Gunn, 2006
James Gunn’s directorial debut does not fail to live up to its own hype. It is a creature feature as only a Troma veteran can deliver. If you’re at this site, you don’t need me to sell you on Slither. You don’t need me to pitch the plot to you to see whether or not it is going to be of interest. Who isn’t interested in alien slugs, zombies, giant mutated hosts, enraged deer, guns, blood, tons of slime and a grenade? The question is, did James Gunn pull it all off? In short, yes, he did. Though not without its shortcommings, Slither is a calculated opus of insanity. The rural town gets invaded by horde of extraordinary creatures picture is one of the true gems of our genre. They promise wide spread chaos, and who doesn’t like watching a town’s inhabittants go all Redneck Rampage on whatever unfortunate species decided to take them on? Gunn certainly knows this better than anyone and has written a great script to deliver the goods. It’s full of likeable, though rarely admirable, and hilarious characters that the audience can really root for. They may not be as truly quirky as Gunn believes they are, but they do make for consistently funny set ups, gags and laughs. Gunn may not be a jedi master of the one-liner, as some are hit and miss, but he certainly keeps the audience laughing throughout all of his madness. And madness there is plenty of. Once slugified Grant starts his warpath of extinction, it really doesn’t stop. Everything snowballs into a mess of gore, slime and laughs. Mutations, death and parasitic infestation have never been so gleeful and yet so respectful. I’ve got complaints, but they’re nitpicky and not entirely James Gunn’s fault, but mine and mine alone. I wanted it to be the new Tremors. And for a lot of people I think it has already achieved that echeleon, but regretably I’m not one of them – yet. I felt the pacing of it all held it back from really reaching that timeless status Tremors defines. After the initial 20ish minute set-up of the town and the principle players in the story, it rarely stops from plowing ahead. The pacing of it is almost too dizzying, which forgoes the slower sense of adventure and discovery that Tremors perfected. Gunn doesn’t really give us any time to absorb it all, to savor the taste of this rare breed of film. Which is a complaint that I feel is a little redundant. I’m complaining that the meal was so good I wish I could have had longer to eat it, when I should be perfectly satisfied that we’re all lucky enough to be able to eat a meal with such flavor in the first place. My minor wishes aside, Slither is a treat. It kicks ass left and right. It is hilarious, without ever spoofing the genre; which is no easy feat. Running along the strands of the sticky spiderweb that is tounge-in-cheek genre schlock and not getting stuck is a wonderful thing to see and Gunn has proven that he can run that gauntlet in record time.