Today is going to be a bit of a marathon for me: today I am watching Slither and tomorrow I’m going to watch Brightburn – both associated with the Gunn brothers, with James Gunn directing Slither and Brian and Mark Gunn writing the script for Brightburn.
Do you like body horror? Zombies? Hivemind? Aliens? If you said yes to any or all of these (two out of these four honestly terrify me. Send me your guesses!), then brother, or sister, is Slither the movie for you!
Slither hearkens back to the horror movies of the 50’s and the 80’s – the fear of The Other coming upon a sleepy Middle American town (which we will revisit in Brightburn), whether from the other side of the galaxy or the other side of the Iron Curtain. When all of them start talking like the initial contact Grant, all of them make references that only Grant could have known…I can’t help but get chills.
While it is a horror film, there are some moments of good comedy – a hallmark of Gunn films, which serve to expand upon the characters, something that all novice writers (including myself) should put into their tool-box. Don’t be funny too be funny, but be funny to further the reader’s understanding of the story.
Speaking of 80’s films – I appreciate the subdued gore (in comparison to other films) and jump scares in this film. I hate jump scares as they are aimed at the common denominator, and are there just to shock the audience back into being awake. Most of the scares in this movie come from the working of The Other. The zombies shambling across the field, the revelation of the breeder and just the notion of being taken in a place where you are the most vulnerable: the bathroom.
Another thing that I like about this film is that the person who becomes the antagonist – Grant Grant – isn’t a bad person. Normally, the first victim is someone who deserves it – see Wes Craven’s Scream for an explanation of horror movies enforcing morality – but in this case, Grant Grant might be a lecherous predator, but he’s faithful to the woman he loves. Speaking of the woman he loves…she’s not exactly pristine. The town seems to be of the understanding that she’s only with him for the college tuition, house and money. Certainly, those of us who are far soured upon the milk of human kindness look at Starla and make that link quicker than others…but she does try to get along with Grant at times. For a horror movie, Slither makes a supreme effort to give us the complexity of the human spirit.
If you want a layered but entertaining horror film – rent Slither.