Ridiculous? Sure. Gory? Without a doubt. Cliché? Certainly at times… but aren’t those three ingredients the necessary spices that marinate the typical b-grade film to that of a choice cult classic? You bet!
Slither, you see, is bred from a high pedigree of b-film classics, attributing the over-the-top gory camp from its grandfather, Evil Dead II, to the sci-fi wackiness of its father, Tremors, and that’s even ignoring director James Gunn’s connections to all things Troma. Gregg Henry’s dialogue is easily imagined as coming from Bruce Campbell while the romantic tensions between Nathan Fillion and Elizabeth Banks are on the same route as Kevin Bacon and Finn Carter. Other family likenesses include snappy one-liners, a well-intentioned and likable rogue who must stand alone against an invasion of body-snatching space slugs and, of course, unexplained dead things. Slither is an entertaining chase that consistently brings just as many laughs as it does screams.
Even before the likes of Shaun Of The Dead, genre-blending flicks of comedic horror have always been one of the most difficult theatrical tricks to successfully pull off as that delicate balance of acceptance comes into play. For instance, how much camp can be digested before being conceived as ridiculous or simply too much, must fit in with the comedic style and tone of the script. Then, how scary and how gory can the film go without being visualized as either an outright terror or a gooey mess?
Usually, the answer to those questions is quite often luck. However, talent and a true desire for the story does go a long way. Aside from the aforementioned films of Sam Raimi and Ron Underwood, examples of these can be seen with Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive, Joe Dante’s Gremlins, and John Carpenter’s comedic-actioner Big Trouble In Little China.
There is one more element that must be added to the mix: enjoyment. Regardless if the film brings laughter or shrieks, the final result must be satisfaction in the story, the involvement of the characters, and the entertaining aspect that the afflictions within are not happening to you. Slither is satisfying on every level.
Add Slither to that “must see” list of spectacles where the silliness can become real, accepted, and experienced over and over.