Cast: Nathan Fillion, Don Thompson, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Rooker, Brenda James, Tania Saulnier, Gregg Henry

Rating: R for gore, strong horror violence and language

Runtime: 95 minutes

A meteor hits near the small town of Wheelsy where the most exciting thing that Police Chief Bill Pardy (Fillion) and Wally (Thompson), one of his officers, do is use their radar guns to see how fast a whippoorwill can fly. But it’s no ordinary meteor that lands in the nearby forest. It’s actually carrying a not so pleasant creature that moves from planet to planet, often decimating whatever stands in its path.

We’re then introduced to Starla Grant (Banks), a teacher at Wheelsy’s school, and her husband Grant (Rooker). (Yes! That’s right! His name is Grant Grant!) After a disagreement, Grant finds himself at the local bar drinking, listening to a rendition of “The Crying Game” on karaoke and talking to Brenda (James), which results in the pair journeying out into the same woods where the creature has landed for a midnight frolic. However, a curious Grant sees a trail of slime left by the creature and he follows. Not a good idea! When he finally happens upon the seemingly non-threatening entity, the creature attacks, making Grant its primary host.

There’s an immediate “not so subtle” difference in Grant. His attitude towards Starla is unusual and he’s completely obsessed with meat, whether it’s straight from the grocery store or the next door neighbor’s pet. There’s also the newly installed padlock that he puts on the basement door. Soon physical changes start to set in and it isn’t long before the creature decides to breed with Brenda.

Things go from bad to worse when Starla breaks into the padlocked room and discovers the chamber of horrors within. When Grant discovers he’s been had, he’s soon on the run. The cops are soon on his trail, hoping to question him not only about the disappearance of Brenda but also the increasing number of animal murders in the area. A stakeout ends with the police discovering the newly transformed Grant as well as Brenda, who immediately “bursts at the seams” with thousands of slug-like creatures that are bent on inhabiting other people.

With more creatures on the loose, the town of Wheelsy isn’t a safe place to be, which is what Kylie (Saulnier), a young teenager, soon finds out, when her entire family is turned into acid spitting zombies. She is rescued by Bill but the pair, along with Starla and Wheelsy’s Mayor Jack MacReady, soon realizes they’re the only people left in town. Will the four of them make it out alive?

“Slither” offers a unique balance of action, comedy, horror and even a little sci-fi. It never takes itself too seriously. Sometimes movies come off as too campy or corny when this happens but it seems to work with this film. You even find yourself laughing at things even when the characters are in dire situations, like Jack complaining that there’s no Mr. Pibb in the cooler even though they’re in the middle of trying to escape from the approaching zombies.

My favorite action scenes would have to be the big “stakeout” where we first see the newly transformed Grant and eventually get to see what happened to Brenda. There’s also the “escape scene” where Bill, Kylie, Starla and Jack are trying to get away in the police cruiser and the final confrontation with the creature.

At 95 minutes, it doesn’t leave much for character development. Unfortunately, we never get to know that much about Kylie other than she was living with her parents and sisters and Jack, who’s the town’s mayor. The movie also doesn’t delve too much in the past between Bill and Starla. It’s mentioned several times that they knew each other when they were younger and Bill really likes her but we’re never told if there was ever anything more or perhaps a relationship that failed.

If you’re looking for a fun film to watch around Halloween time, you might want to consider “Slither”. It has a little something for all types of film fans!

My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

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