If nothing else, this deserves credit for offering us a break from the current trend of nihilistic horror flicks whose sole purpose is to devise groovy new ways for psychopaths to torture and murder innocent people. Make no mistake: Slither offers gore by the bucketful, but the movies in the spirit of those enjoyable, us-against-them monster yarns that ran rampant from the 50s straight through to the mid-80s. Starting out as an invader from outer space opus (think The Blob) before switching gears to become a quasi-zombie flick (think Night of the Living Dead), the film involves a gelatinous E.T. that turns hicksville businessman Grant Grant (Michael Rooker) into its agent of evil on earth. The master plan eventually involves a mass assault by hundreds of slugs that take over humans bodies by entering through the mouths; naturally, the entire planet is doomed unless double-Grants wife (Elizabeth Banks) and an amiable sheriff (Nathan Fillion) can figure out a way to shut the otherworldly operation down. Slither takes its time getting started, but once it does, it never lets up, throwing the blood, slime and one-liners (some woeful, most of them witty) at the screen with feverish abandon. Banks, recently seen as the bookstore nymph in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, is actually touching as the wife who doesnt comprehend why her husband has morphed into a human squid. And between his starring roles here and in last years sci-fi tale Serenity, Fillion might end up becoming a new generations Bruce Campbell. The worst part of the film is the unnecessary coda tacked on after the closing credits have run their course; luckily, the auditorium will be empty at that point anyway.
The plot remains fundamentally unchanged from the ’91 model, and the narrative diversions that have been added along the way are acceptable and sometimes even manage to enhance particular points from its predecessor.
The film is crucially missing a worthy villain of note – and when the scripters run out of ideas, they paraphrase Stephen Sondheim and elect to send in the clones. This latter decision renders the action sequences even more rote and less interesting.
As is often the case with historical sagas, the picture relegates lots of fascinating material into a few blocks of text at the end, giving short shrift to the subsequent accomplishments of two people who refused to be defined merely by their physical appearances.