Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Comedy, Horror
  • 2006
  • 95 mins

Slither

Slither

Synopsis

Effects-laden alien invasion schlock horror directed by James Gunn, writer of the Dawn Of The Dead remake

About

This is a 100 per cent gleeful fan-boy romp through the horror and sci-fi genres, a film that pays lively homage to a slew of earlier classics, notably: The Thing, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Society, Shivers and yes, even Romero zombie films (never mind lesser fare like Xtro and the sundry Alien rip-offs). And it does so with plenty of latex special effects.

"Aw, that's gross," says Brenda Gutierrez (James) when she and Grant Grant (Rooker) come across something slimy and, yes, otherworldly in the woods. Before you can say "alien invasion", Grant's been impregnated by a dart thingy and starts to mutate. Initially, his wife, Starla (Banks), is pleased, saying to a colleague, "This morning I sensed a real change in Grant" after their dry marriage (that's why he was in the woods with another woman) is reinvigorated. Then he starts getting weird - putting a padlock on the cellar door, and developing nasty rashes and swellings. "It's just a bee sting," he insists, but it ain't. He's becoming the monstrous alien overlord, and transforming others too. Brenda becomes a giant egg sack basically, and releases a torrent of slithering little red slug beasties. Cue Shivers homage, as one heads for a teenager, Kylie (Saulnier), in her bath.

Suddenly, the small town of Wheelsy is full of zombies and mutants. It's up to Starla; the local police chief who's always held a torch for her, Bill Pardy (Fillon, of 'Firefly' and Serenity fame); obnoxious mayor Jack MacReady (Henry); and plucky young Kylie to try and fight back. But how can you battle a flesh-eating, body-absorbing, hive-mind alien? Suffice to say, the whole endeavour involves even more lashings of silicone and latex.

As well as paying homage to the horror he grew up with - Carpenter, early Cronenberg - Gunn also revisits the special effects techniques that made 1980s horror so distinct. Latex, silicone and physical prosthetics reached their aesthetic prime with such films as The Thing and Brian Yuzna's Society, with its unforgettable body-melding climax.

Techniques and technology have come along since then, and Slither further augments them with CGI, but it's marvellous to see latex body horror making a return here. The effects team supposedly used so much silicone that they depleted the US national supply which should give you some idea of what to expect. Poor Michael Rooker gets the brunt of it, rapidly disappearing under layers of prosthetics as he turns into a red, be-tentacled thing. Yep, that's gross, and Slither's all the more fun for it.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Jennifer Copping, Michael Rooker, Nathan Fillion , Brenda James, Gregg Henry, Jenna Fischer, Tania Saulnier, Don Thompson, Elizabeth Banks, Haig Sutherland
  • Director: James Gunn
  • Screen Writer: James Gunn
  • Producer: Eric Newman, Paul Brooks
  • Photographer: Gregory Middleton
  • Composer: Tyler Bates

In a nutshell

A good cast, a funny script and plenty of wonderful monster action - Gunn's film is masses of nostalgic fun if you grew up with body horror of the 1980s. And just plain gross fun if you didn't.

by Daniel Etherington

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    The House Of Magic

    Children's animation about a ginger cat who finds a home with a charismatic magician.

  • Film4

    The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya

    Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata directs this delicately hand-drawn Oscar-nominated animation that's based on a 10th-century Japanese folk tale.

  • Film4

    Chef on Film4

    Jon Favreau, Sofía Vergara and Scarlett Johansson star in Film4's network premiere of Chef.

  • Film4

    The Big Lebowski On Film4

    Catch the Coen Brothers' best-loved comedy The Big Lebowski on Film4.

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Film4-backed titles available for digital download

    39 titles from Film4¿s library will be launched to buy or rent on iTunes and Amazon on August 1st, 2016. The collection includes classics and award-winners which will be available for digital download

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Todd Strauss-Schulson on The Final Girls

    Ahead of the Film4 Summer Screen presentation of The Final Girls, director Todd Strauss-Schulson reflects on the making of 2015's heartfelt horror homage...  The Final Girls came into my life when

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share