March 6, 2006


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Slither (R)
reviewed by Amy Diaz

Space slugs menace a small town in the slime-filled, delightfully silly Slither.

The closest things Slither has to stars are Nathan Fillion (best known for his work on Firefly and Serenity) and Elizabeth Banks (best known for bit parts in the Spider-Man movies and The 40-Year-Old Virgin). The real screen-stealers here are the pink, slug-worm hybrids that speed-wiggle through a hick town and make flesh-seeking zombies of its residents. They swarm the local mammals and infect by worming their oozy little bodies into their victims' mouths. It is thoroughly, wonderfully disgusting.

The worms pick as their first victim a thoroughly, wonderfully jackass-ish man named Grant Grant (Michael Rooker), the big bald fish in the small pond of the town where he lives with trophy wife Starla (Banks). He's not exactly the nicest guy, which gives Sheriff Bill Pardy (Fillion) some hope as Pardy's been a longtime friend and admirer of Starla. Grant is stumbling through the woods one night with a barfly when he comes across a microwave-sized yellow slug (one that, in the movie's opening scenes, we see crash to Earth inside a meteor), which launches a similar but smaller slug into Grant's chest. The result is a sudden desire for meat - lots of meat, including area cows and local pets - and a desire to breed, which he does by plunging two suddenly appearing tube-like tentacles into the gut of the barfly. When she explodes, she gives birth to a multitude of tiny, human-host-seeking slugs. Once they lodge themselves into new people, the unwitting host shares the hopes and dreams of both the alien (dreams: world domination) and Grant (hopes: getting back together with Starla, who was rather creeped out by his sudden change into a giant Silly-Putty-like wad of pulsating flesh). As Starla, Bill and eventually the teenage Kylie (Tania Saulnier) try to fight the slimy onslaught, more and more townsfolk come under the cannibalistic sway of the slugs.

Fillion is the same kind of geeky hero he was when Joss Whedon was putting the smartypants comebacks in his mouth and Banks plays her pretty-girl cluelessness with deadpan perfection. Slither marvelously mixes the "ewww" with the "heehee!" and gives you characters who might perfectly smack-talk a zombie bear before they stake it but who also fumble, lose their weapons and might very well be outsmarted by an army of slugs. B+

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