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Nathan Fillion

Nathan Fillion - "Slither" Movie - Imdb.com Review

Arno Kazarian

Wednesday 24 May 2006, by Webmaster

Starring: Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks (II), Michael Rooker

8 out of 10 stars: Slither filled me with a mixture of creeped-out giddiness and dread; it gradually constricted itself, effectively paralyzing me. Then, as I thought the movie’s yuckiest creation - a pair of tentacle-like suckling tubes protruding from Michael Rooker’s chest - were about to burrow into me, Slither exploded with even more awesomeness. Literally.

In his directorial debut, James Gunn sends an entity of horrifying origin and intent to Earth - specifically, sleepy Wheelsy, Texas. After this unnamed evil crash-lands, it waits until it finds a suitable male host. This is unfortunate news for Grant Grant (Rooker), one of Wheelsy’s richest, most powerful citizens, who’s out with the wrong girl at the wrong time when he becomes this dark force’s latest victim. As Grant’s form begins to change, he chooses a queen to fatten up and forces her to give birth to lots of babies. Worm babies. The worms slide down people’s throats and turn them into zombies with hive-mind instincts. Their design is simple: consume a planet, move on to a new world. It’s so totally sweet.

The cops, the mayor, and a few citizens band together to save Wheelsy, armed with guns, hunting rifles, and a single grenade. The fellowship is quickly whittled down to Sheriff Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion); Starla (Elizabeth Banks), the woman Bill has long loved from a distance; and an Avril Lavigne lookalike, Kylie (Tania Saulnier), who barely escapes from her tanszombified family. Ms. Saulnier deserves praise for tolerating the movie’s dirty-minded bathtub scene; as a reward, Kylie becomes Slither’s most interesting character. She kills a worm that nearly made it down her throat, which gives her insight as to how the entity operates. Unfortunately for her, it fills her with visions of what it has done to other worlds, which has to result in a lifetime of sleepless nights. The succession of images Gunn offers up here, flashes of a worm vs. alien war on some dark planet, are so unexpectedly weird they momentarily turn the film into a genuine horror flick. Kylie also serves as Sheriff Bill’s best ally once Starla is chosen after the new queen. (Slither is slim on back story; suffice it to say that there’s no way any queen could survive giving this particular kind of birth, and altered-state Grant has particular interest in Starla, who just so happens to be his wife.)

Fillion emerges as a natural successor to Bruce Campbell; he’s gentlemanly, sarcastic when it’s called for, and he looks good all roughed up. If he doesn’t become an all-purpose leading man, I could spend the rest of my days watching him fight aliens, fly around space in a junker, what have you. Banks is game for her part, but Saulnie is given better dialogue and scarier pitfalls. But the real attraction here is writer-director Gunn, who’ hopefully done churning out Scooby-Doo screenplays and has learned a thing or two about pleasing an audience since he wrote the Dawn of the Dead remake for Zack Snyder. That film’s ending displayed a lack of respect for, and faith in, humanity, turning what could have been a classic film in a flawed but noteworthy effort.

Slither, on the other hand, traffics in Tremors’ B-movie delights, as well as George A. Romero’s anti-establishment sentiment and his faith in his characters. Gunn loves Wheelsy and its inhabitants. With a subtle presence, I swear I could feel him cross my fingers in hope that the Republic of Texas’ righteousness would prove superior to this parasite’s intelligent design.