Director: James Gunn
Stars: Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Rooker
By Brian M. Sammons
Before he rocketed to international fame and success with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn wrote movies, like the 2004’s Dawn of the Dead remake, which was quite good. He also did 2002’s Scooby-Doo, but we won’t hold that against him. And before that he did writing and various other tasks for Lloyd Kaufman’s infamous house of schlock, Troma. Then in 2006 he got his first chance to direct something for the big screen: the woefully underrated and underseen Slither, a throwback to the fun, slimy, alien invasion flicks of yesteryear. Thankfully Scream Factory has brought this one back to the forefront with a new Blu-ray collector’s edition. So buckle up, don’t forget your Mr. Pibb (it’s the only Coke I like), and let’s get to it.
Nathan Fillion (everyone’s favorite cult, sci-fi, comedy, action hero thanks to the much-loved and cruelly cut short TV show, Firefly) plays Bill Pardy, the sheriff of a small southern town. One night a comet (never a bringer of good news in these films) crashes down, a local (Michael Rooker) pokes it with a stick, and gets stung by something for his troubles. Next thing you know he’s mutating into a creepy crawly thing with tentacles and a massive hunger for meat. It also ushers in thousands of slithering spawn that shoot into your mouth (or any orifice) to infect you and make you part of the growing alien hive mind. Can Sheriff Pardy save the day, get the girl, and stop the mass of fetid flesh from spreading?
What sets this film apart from many similar titles is the on point direction, very fine acting, the well-written and uniquely original characters, and the stunning special effects. Each piece by itself would be a great example of their respective talents, but how they blend and gel here is truly wonderful. With that said, there are some bright spots that shine a little more than the rest. One of the brightest is Nathan Fillion that deserves every ounce of nerd praise that he gets. I haven’t seen a bumbling yet sometimes oddly confident leading man like this since the almighty Bruce Campbell, hallowed be thy name. But honestly, everyone here does very good work. Heck, I’d bet even the movie catering was awesome, if only to keep up with every other aspect of this film.
On to the extras that Scream Factory has given us with this new Blu-ray release. First and foremost there is an audio commentary with writer/director James Gunn and actors Nathan Fillion and Michael Rooker. Then there is a commentary track with director Gunn and star Fillion. Both of these commentaries are really fun, funny, and informative, I highly recommend listening to both. As for other goodies there is an interview with James Gunn that runs 30 minutes and another interview with actor Gregg Henry that’s eight minutes. Then there are a bunch of featurettes, one on visual effects that’s five minutes, a set tour with star Nathan Fillion that is almost five minutes, another five-minute feature on ‘who is Bill Pardy,’ a 10-minute look on the goopy and gory practical effects, a different three-minute special on how to make fake blood, and yet a third specifically on the creatures and the little slithers that is over 18 minutes long. Then there is a video diary by schlock master Lloyd Kaufman who gave Gunn his start back in the Tromaville days that’s nine minutes long. Then there is a collection of deleted and extended scenes that come with commentary by Gunn, a gag reel, and the ever-present trailer. So yeah, that’s a whole bunch of goodies for this release. Well done, Scream Factory, well done.
Slither is a great, fun, and funny movie. It’s exactly what Gunn did for an unknown title like Guardians of the Galaxy, only earlier, funnier, bloodier, more adult in general, and for a tenth of the budget. It is a crime that this movie wasn’t a huge success upon release, but now you can have it for your very own, looking great in HD, and loaded with special features. This one is more than highly recommended, it’s a must-get.