Slither Blu-ray Review
Written by Robert Gold
Blu-ray released by Scream Factory
Written and directed by James Gunn
2006, 95 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on August 1st, 2017
Nathan Fillion as Bill Pardy
Elizabeth Banks as Starla Grant
Michael Rooker as Grant Grant
Gregg Henry as Jack MacReady
Tania Saulnier as Kylie Strutmyer
Brenda James as Brenda
A sleepy town in America is in for a rude awakening when a meteor lands in the woods carrying a slimy alien life form. Grant Grant has made first contact and is on a mission to spread the message loud and clear. His wife Starla tries to soothe him with help from Police Chief Bill Pardy, but their efforts fall on deaf ears once Grant sends an army of slug-like creatures out to convert more members of the community. What follows is an over-the-top thrill ride that crams a lot of fun into just over ninety minutes. Can Grant be stopped? Will Pardy find true love? Will the local high school be overrun by alien mutant beings? Everyone in this town better pray a solution can be found or who knows where the invasion will strike next!
Slither is one of those movies that I can’t say enough good things about. It takes the best parts of sci-fi horror films from the 1950s through the 1980s and mixes them into something new and wonderful. Borrowing generously from classics including The Blob, Night of the Living Dead, Night of the Creeps and even a tad of From Beyond, writer/ director James Gunn (Tromeo & Juliet) has created a fun-filled adventure that is as funny as it is scary. Well-paced and well-acted, Slither joins the ranks of these cinematic predecessors and remains original in its own right. Gunn knows how to tell a good story and he keeps audiences thoroughly engaged from the opening shot to the final scene. His skills as a writer (Dawn of the Dead, 2004) are immediately apparent with the way the town and members of the community are introduced. He develops the potential love triangle between Grant, Starla and Bill with a sense of realism in a crazy situation. One of my favorite parts of this movie was having no idea where the thing was going!
Michael Rooker (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) stars as Grant Grant, a well-meaning man infected by an alien organism. Rooker goes above and beyond what an actor normally endures due to the specifics of the character that I won’t reveal here. Suffice it to say, he proves himself to be not only a talented actor, but an incredibly patient man, too. Elizabeth Banks (Pitch Perfect) is both adorable and strong as Starla Grant, the devoted wife trying to see the good in her husband when everyone else only sees a monster. Banks’ comic timing is strong and she shares a great onscreen chemistry with many of her co-stars. Nathan Fillion (Firefly) is Chief Bill Pardy, a guy with a crush on his junior high school sweetheart, trying to save his town from something he doesn’t understand. Fillion is instantly likeable in the role and audiences will want to see him succeed in his mission as he fights to restore order to a world gone mad.
I am a sucker for a good monster movie and James Gunn knocks this one out of the park. If you somehow missed it, or were waiting for the long overdue Blu-ray release to come – now is your chance. Do yourself a favor and pick up this slimy-good fun flick from beyond the stars!
Video and Audio:
Presented in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, Slither has never looked better than it does here. Black levels are solid and colors are well saturated. There is plenty of small-object detail and flesh tones appear natural throughout. This is a really strong transfer and I cannot say enough nice things about it.
The all-new DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix that Scream Factory has included for this edition is a surprisingly robust treat that plays across the room during the numerous action scenes throughout the picture. There’s a lot of rumble in this track and music and effects tracks are perfectly balanced with dialogue levels that remain free from distortion. A DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo track is also included, but the 5.1 option is the way to go.
Optional English subtitles are included for anyone in need.
A pair of audio commentaries kicks things off, starting with an all-new track featuring James Gunn, Nathan Fillion and Michael Rooker. The three old friends reflect on the time making this picture and the other projects they have made together since. Everyone is clearly having fun here and their joy is infectious.
The second commentary was recorded in 2006 for the original DVD release and features Gunn and Fillion. Once again, good times are the course of the day and these two deliver a comedic conversation that audiences will surely enjoy.
The centerpiece of the newly created supplements is The Genesis of Slither (30 minutes), an interview with James Gunn. His enthusiasm for the project is just as strong as it was ten years ago and he is quite the storyteller.
Gregg Henry (Body Double) shares his memories of the film in The Other MacReady (8 minutes). He reflects on his character, the cast, the make-up and working with Gunn for the first of many times.
Video-based special features returning from the 2006 DVD include a collection of deleted and extended scenes (17 minutes) with optional commentary by Gunn.
Visual Effects: Step by Step (5 minutes) is a self-explanatory piece that studies the many optical and digital effects in the film.
Nathan Fillion leads viewers on a Slithery Set Tour (5 minutes) that reveals a look behind the scenes at the making of the picture.
Lloyd Kaufman (Poultrygeist), president of Troma Entertainment and creator of the Toxic Avenger, shot a video diary (9 minutes) of his experience on Slither. Any time catching up with Lloyd is time well spent.
The original EPK featurette The Sick Minds and Slimy Days of Slither (10 minutes) offers a mix of behind the scenes footage, movie clips and interviews with members of the cast and crew.
Focusing on the effects team led by Todd Masters, Bringing Slither’s Creatures to Life (19 minutes) takes a look at all aspects of the film’s special effects.
Make-up assistant Kurt Jackson shows how to make a precious bodily fluid in the short segment Brewing the Blood: How to Make Blood (3 minutes).
The gag reel (8 minutes) is particularly fun and showcases the usual flubs and blunders. Who is Bill Purdy (5 minutes) is a companion piece that focuses on actor Nathan Fillion and his gaffes.
The original theatrical trailer is also included. It’s more of a teaser, but it does contain spoilers.
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