I was pretty excited when I finally got around to watching Slither. It’s ridiculously cheesy horror movie from ‘06 (fun fact though: apparently it was only released in Korea very recently, so I’m actually kind of with the times, even if I didn’t know it), which I think would usually be more Lyca’s cup of tea than mine but James Gunn had obviously realised that if you want to get me to watch something there’s a few ways that rarely fail- and one of them is a Buffy alum. Nathan Fillion not only fits that criteria but he’s also obviously a graduate of the Firefly/Serenity-verse (and now of Dr Horrible’s too, but that hadn’t been made yet way back in aught-six), is generally just incredibly adorable and I totally have a voicecrush on the man.
It’s a pretty standard plot- an alien (in this case, literally) entity has infected someone and this infection is spreading and taking everyone over, whilst a small band have withstood the attack and now have to save the world against seemingly impossible odds! The SFX were actually pretty cool (and unbelievably gross, but in an awesome way), I especially liked the ridiculous squid-Grant and the guy getting sliced in two. When did I turn into a fourteen year old boy? Oh, right. Well I’ll pretend to be ananthropologista for a moment… This film did have one of the most redundantly explicit infestation-as-rape scenes that I’ve ever seen (although I suppose that’s not saying much since I don’t watch films), featuring the infected Grant visiting Brenda who’s desperate to be his bit on the side. Grant unbuttons his shirt to reveal two unmistakably phallic protrusions- then pierces her skin while she struggles against him. The scene is clearly shot as a rape, and it was pretty disturbing- especially when intercut with Grant’s wife Starla innocently dancing and enjoying herself with Bill (ahhh Nathan). I can’t quite decide whether or not I liked it though- since this is a relatively tongue in cheek horror-comedy I assume that this was a “knowing” scene, nodding to and slightly mocking this tendency of horror flicks. All well and good, but it didn’t exactly make pleasant viewing- not to mention Brenda’s throes as the camera finally pulled away seemed more orgasmic than deathly which just… is actually something which could be brilliantly disturbing but since it wasn’t developed at all and this seems like completely the wrong setting it was just mostly annoying. Unless they were in fact a completely different kind of shudder, in which case just chalk it up to me babbling bullshit as per.
Brenda comically ended up as brood mare for the aliens- Grant fattened her up with a variety of local pets etc to the point where she looked like Veruca Salt, or possibly Balthazar from Buffy (that suit was also clearly re-used in the last episode of The Inside). She then exploded pouring a load of gross wriggling beings, all apparently controlled by a hive mentality. The wrigglers infect people via the mouth, and do so very quickly and effectively most of the time- although the lead characters must have very bad breath or something because they somehow withstand the attack. Plot devices don’t annoy me too much though when they result in wonderful almost grope-y scenes between Nathan Fillion and Elizabeth Banks (who has a very nice arse, and was somehow incredibly hot in this film despite not performing her eye candy duty in Scrubs particularly well). The weird little aliens also brought about a completely ridiculous scene involving the teenaged Kylie choking on one of these suspiciously phallic larvae. These rape scenes deserve applause I suppose, if only for getting past the censors who would have frowned on any actual sex scenes. Funny old world.
The possessed people tended to become inexplicably stupider, less aggressive and shockingly incompetent when faced with Kylie, Starla or Bill. Consistency is clearly for the weak! They also quickly took t oresembling zombies, I’m always a little miffed when a movie sneakily turns into a zombie flick- but nowadays that just reminds me of Dean getting all excited about them in ‘Time is on my Side’ (Supernatural), so I can cope. They served the story well enough, but whenever they turned into complete idiots around the lead characters I had to roll my eyes. A lot.
This film did have some of the lamest exposition ever. Case in point: instead of clunkily discussing the grenade that Bill later decides is the key to saving everyone when grabbing weapons to go Grant-hunting and sagely deciding to leave it behind for no reason whatsoever, why not include the confiscation of the grenade at the beginning of the film, or randomly include the (pretty funny) anecdote about people trying to fish with it? When a devout Supernatural fan is chiding your exposition you know you’re in trouble, ‘Time is on my Side’ actually has a scene in which Dean waves a bottle of chloroform at Doc Benton and tells him slowly and carefully that the knife he just stabbed him with was dipped in the bottle. It’s almost brilliantly absurd in its majestic move of beating the audience over the head with the point, but anything delivered by a maniacally grinning Jensen Ackles somehow works.
Similarly I could forgive Slither many of its worst faux-pas because Bill was simply so endearing. In part I suppose it’s because it’s always nice to hear Nathan get to swear angrily, but this was coupled with a truly likable character:
Wally: I’m surprised you’re able to lift a mug, you’ve been carrying that torch for so long.
Bill: Oh, that reminds me. There’s something I wanted to tell you.
Wally: What’s that?
Billy: Fuck you, fatass.
I have retained an unabashed love of Nathan Fillion, even though he’s no longer exactly the Captain Tightpants of yore. I’m not sure that he was ever exactly conventionally gorgeous (although I’m not knocking the nekkid scene fromFirefly), so I’m not too fussed about his recent change to going around being puffy eyed and scruffy- especially as he’s almost working it.
One thing I did love about the movie was the women. With the exception of Brenda they were pretty kickass. Kylie was great and managed to be pretty funny under pressure, which is always a bonus. She managed to save Bill from an evil deer, and even let him take the credit (although not all that enthusiastically). I especially loved Starla trying to lure Grant by being all sweet to him, just so she could get close enough to whip out her mirror from her underwear and try to stab him. I’m glad that Starla and Bill got their happy ending, and I liked the call back to the whole running away to Hollywood idea.
In short, a pretty entertaining movie- especially if you actually like Nathan Fillion or these kind of horror films.