James Gunn? SLITHER is clearly intended to be an affectionate homage to all those big, stupid monster movies of the 1950s ?you know, the ones where a meteor crashlands in some Hicksville backwater and something horrible/slimy/tentacled turns locals into hapless werewolves/zombies/teenagers. Sadly SLITHER misses the mark as it? never really sure whether it? trying to be a gross-out body horror gorefest or a tongue-in-cheek comedy romp. The cover blurb for the DVD draws parallels with the sublime SHAUN OF THE DEAD but in truth SLITHER has none of the real wit or love of its subject matter displayed by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright? zombie tribute.

We start with a meteor roaring through space and crashlanding ?unnoticed, of course ?near the town of Wheelsy. It? not long before one of the locals ?a big lug named Grant Grant (Rooker) stumbles across a nasty jelly blob oozing through the countryside. He? quickly infected by something very vicious indeed and he starts to undergo a ghastly transformation which turns him into a rather silly man-squid creature which terrorises the countryside looking for raw meat to feed to something he? secreted in a nearby barn. Before long Wheelsy and its people are battling a sea of blood-red slug parasites and those unlucky enough to fall victim to the slugs become shuffling, murderous zombies, part of the gestalt creature which is turning Grant into something repulsive and slimy. Yuk.

I had high hopes for SLITHER, mainly because it stars Nathan (FIREFLY/SERENITY) Fillion who really out to be well on the way to becoming a new Hollywood heartthrob. SLITHER lets him down because it? just too cheesy, the B-est of B movies. Gunn? script is slapdash and random, there? too much swearing (particularly from the tiresome Mayor Jack) and the tone of the whole piece veers from the laugh-out loud funny (?he worms are inside their brains!? to the cheerfully repellant (various blown-off heads and sliced??iced bodies, lots of goo). The inhabitants of Wheelsy are all stereotyped Southern hicks but their drawling accents make some of the dialogue difficult to make out; still, we?e not talking David Mamet here so I daresay we?e not missing much.

There? nothing here we haven? seen before and ultimately the movie? just an excuse for the prosthetics bods to fill the screen with a few thrashing tentacles and blown-apart bodies. It? a shame because Gunn? script for the impressive remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD promised better than this. SLITHER will, however, bring a smile (and maybe even the odd grimace) to your face and it works better on DVD than it did on the big screen. But we?e seen this stuff too many times to be really gripped by it. Very much, as they say, a Friday night beer??urry experience.

THE DISC: For a film which didn? exactly set the box office alight (despite the post-credits coda which suggests potential for a sequel) there? some good value amongst the DVD extras. Fillion? in fine form on his own video diary, there? an extensive gag reel, extended and deleted scenes, making ofs, FX featurettes and the obligatory commentary.


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