So while waiting for last night absolute mess of a horror movie to begin, I was able to watch a much better horror movie. It really goes to show that putting a little effort into something can truly make it better.
#8 Slither (2006 - James Gunn, dir.)
If you weren't aware, James Gunn is the guy who used to be married to Jenna Fischer (Pam from The Office). Fischer has a small part in this movie, but the real star of the show is Elizabeth Banks. She stars as a trophy wife for Michael Rooker (whose most frightening role to date was the title character in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer). Early on in the film, Rooker becomes infected by a parasitic alien, which we see crash landing to Earth in the opening scene. The monster burrows itself into his chest, and from then on, things aren't quite the same.
The horror movie I was reminded of the most was John Carpenter's The Thing. This was probably because the alien in both films took on multiple forms. In Slither, it starts out as a pod creature. When Rooker is infected he begins to develop chest tentacles, and shortly after that his arm becomes tentacle-like. A woman Rooker infects turns into a humongous ball, presumably because her parasite was using her as an incubator. When she pops open, the creature is in its larval state, looking like the tongue-shaped, slug-shaped creatures seen on the DVD cover. Towards the end of the movie, Rooker's grotesque body has begun to incorporate the bodies of other infected people into it, in the process creating a sickening conglomerate of a monster. Great stuff all around.
*The mayor of the hick town in which the story is set is totally ineffectual and annoying throughout the film, but the source of many good laughs. He is presented as a staunch advocate of hunters' rights early in the movie, and when he eventually gets him comeuppance, the infected person who does him in takes a dig at him as a slimeball Republican in the process. Awesome!
*CGI works well when used only when practical effects won't suffice. This film blends the two rather well.
*Ever see a woman infected by an alien parasite which goes on to spawn inside of her body?
*Elizabeth Banks is great in nearly everything she's in. She's also older than you would imagine, 37. I'm wondering why none of the print promotional materials wanted to advertise her presence in this movie.
*The lighting in this movie is a little too high-key. At times I felt like I was watching an episode of Nash Bridges, and I've never even seen an episode of Nash Bridges, I'm just assuming that, as a mundane CBS action/drama series, it's extremely brightly lit .
*The meat-filled basement is one of the sickest things I've ever seen in a movie. I'm fairly immune to scares in movies, but I hope I never encounter anything as revolting as that basement.
Boobs?: Just barely. You get a quick peek during the alien slugs' assault on the girl in the bathtub form the DVD cover, but that's it. Elizabeth Banks has a shower scene, but we are foiled again by a steamed-up glass shower door.
I highly recommend this movie if you want to see something smart, funny, scary, and original.