Slither (2006)

(In theaters, April 2006) Horror/comedy hybrids aren’t rare, but given how they tend to flop at the box office, seeing such an unabashed monster comedy like Slither is always something of a wonder. Boldly indulging in the limits of its R rating (except, alas, for the nudity), writer/director James Gunn delivers a movie that would make his old Troma pals proud. (It’s no accident if there’s footage of The Toxic Avenger on a TV screen midway through the film) Slither isn’t really interested in horror, but it’s keen on grossing you out; indeed, one could argue that it’s even more interested in showing gore than in making you laugh: This is a film where the one-liners are tossed off with negligent verve, but where every single gunshot takes off a chunk of flesh. The overall impact of the film will be amiable for gore-hounds, but a bit puzzling for civilian moviegoers: too much yuck, not enough yucks. Otherwise, well, Nathan Fillion retools his Firefly persona to good effect and Elizabeth Banks does her best to be as innocuous as possible. Frankly, it’s a measure of the film’s good-natured tone that it doesn’t leave much of an impact despite some truly stomach-churning visuals. But don’t get too excited: in the genre, it’s not up to Eight-Legged Freaks, and nowhere near the classic Tremors.

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