Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My years in horror: 2006

2006 was a pretty great year in horror. We had movies that people went to just because of the title (Snakes on a Plane), a great meta-horror picture (Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon), my favorite of the Saw franchise (Saw III), evil farm animals (Black Sheep), a new rural menace (Hatchet), a horrible office retreat (Severance), and the usual plethora of junk.

But one movie stands above the rest and not just because I hate slugs.

Seriously, I hate slugs. I hate earth slugs and I hate space slugs. And you can't kill them. It just make sthem grosser. Gack! I just got a shiver thinking about it. 

So, Slither. James Gunn, the man who wrote the Scooby Doo movie and the 2004 Dawn of the Dead got to make his own movie. And now he's making Guardians of the Galaxy for Marvel. How cool is that? Slither is his calling card. It can be genuinely scary, sometimes heartbreaking, often hilarious ("Gina, it's a country. It's where Ginese people come from."), and nearly pitch-perfect. If you didn't know any better, you might think this was a Joss Whedon film and not just because of star Nathan Fillion (Castle). The mix of action and dialogue is right out of the Whedon "how to be entertaining" handbook. 

Fillion, who I still think should be a bigger star, commands the movie as Sheriff Bill Pardy. He's an imperfect man who stills burns a candle for Starla (Elizabeth Banks) despite her marriage to local bigwig Grant Grant (Michael Rooker). Grant is the first to get attacked and taken over by the space slugs. Bill and Starla join with other townsfolk to combat the space menace as the slugs take over the minds and bodies of everyone they come in contact with. 

Things get gross, but Gunn's grossouts (including an exploding, slug-infested body and a killer deer) tend to serve the story. He is justified in being disgusting. 

Like its spiritual father Night of the Creeps, Slither ends with triumphant heroes and the possibility that things are not as safe as we want them to be. When you watch this, make sure you listen to the entire end credits song. If you didn't get a chuckle before then, you will.

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