Thursday, October 12, 2017

Slither Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Writer Director James Gunn’s gag-inducing horror/comedy Slither has been re-released on Blu-ray and DVD. The Blu-ray contains new special features including an audio commentary with Gunn and actors Nathan Fillion and Michael Rooker. The film is not for the faint of heart and is inspired by many cult classics.
Film (3 out of 5 stars)
Sheriff Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion) has likely had it easy in the small southern town he patrols. While his partner plays with the radar gun, Bill attempts to take a nap in the patrol car. Neither men notices that a meteorite has landed in the forest outside of town. Starla (Elizabeth Banks) is a beautiful teacher at Earl Bassett Community School (Home of the Bassett Cooters). She clearly has the eye of Sheriff Pardy but is married to an unusual man named Grant (Michael Rooker).

After being dismissed in the bedroom, Grant heads out to a local bar. He soon heads into the woods with old flame Brenda (Brenda James) where the pair discovers the oozing meteorite. The curious object shoots a dart into Grant’s chest. The wound is not fatal but Grant begins changing. Grant’s first symptom is a skin rash. Soon his behavior changes. He finds himself at the meat counter of the supermarket buying more red meat than any one human could consume.

At home in the basement, Grant is collecting store bought and “found” meat near the nest he has created. A parasite is now controlling Grant and it leads him to Brenda’s home, where she becomes violently infected. Grant tries to act naturally but he is on his way to becoming a full blown monster. Soon slugs are all over town and everyone is in danger from the slithering creatures.

Slither may be funny but it’s definitely a horror film. It’s the type of horror film that is designed to make the audience gag and squirm and not everyone will be able to watch what unfolds. If it didn’t star Nathan Fillion, I wouldn’t have bothered. For Fillion fans it’s a little unsettling to hear that classic Malcom Reynolds ("Firefly") accent dropping F -Bombs. If your gag reflex will let you keep watching, you’ll see that Elizabeth Banks does a great job in her role and Michael Rooker brings all kinds of creepy as her husband. Gregg Henry as the agitated mayor practically steals every scene he’s in with his lines and delivery. This film is campy, gross and not like anything you’ve ever seen. It’s a creature feature that most will probably love or hate.
Video (4 out of 5 stars)
Slither is a dark film that fairs very well on Blu-ray. Color bleeding and clarity issues from the DVD release seem to have been corrected. Whether outdoors at night or in Grant’s basement nest, the action is clear. Clothing and skin textures are accurate and consistent and the CGI elements blend well with the live action.
Audio (4 out of 5 stars)
Slither’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix can easily handle all that the film has to offer. Dialogue is clear and intelligible throughout the film. The slugs squish and squirm with more authenticity than some would like. Prioritization is good and the mix is well balanced.
Extras (4 out of 5 stars)
Slither’s Blu-ray contains a healthy list of extras that includes a new audio commentary and more:
  • Audio Commentary with James Gunn and Nathan Fillion – This feature length audio commentary includes Gunn’s in studio observations with Fillion on the phone. Both are jovial and crack jokes while providing production details.
  • NEW – Audio Commentary with James Gunn, Nathan Fillion and Michael Rooker – The trio laughs through the commentary with additional details about filming.
  • NEW - Interview with Writer/Director James Gunn (29:38) – Gunn discusses the origin, including the fact that he intended to sell, not Direct the film. He talks about the other directors who inspire him, his approach to filmmaking, casting, characters and more. Interview footage is scenes between scenes from the film.
  • NEW - Interview with Actor Gregg Henry (8:09) – The actor who stole every scene he was in expresses his admiration for James Gunn and explains that there was little improvisation or adlibbing (all his jokes came from Gunn). Henry recalls fan favorite lines as well as his own. He explains that he enjoyed working with the cast …“even Rooker.”
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes With Commentary by James Gunn (17:13 total runtime) – Commentary is optional (and recommended) for the scenes.
  • Visual Effects: Step by Step (5:04) – Visual effects progressions are shown stage by stage ending with the scenes in final form.
  • Slithery Set Tour With Actor Nathan Fillion (4:41) – A lighthearted behind the scenes look with Fillion and his handheld camera.
  • Who is Bill Pardy? (5:14) – The “super secret bonus behind the scenes documentary” that asks who is Bill Pardy and also who is Nathan Fillion? Cast and crew enjoy poking fun at Fillion.
  • The Sick Minds and Slimy Days of Slither (10:04) – This making of featurette contains interviews with cast and crew.
  • Brewing the Blood (3:17) – Learn how to make homemade blood with the special effects first assistant.
  • Bringing Slither’s Creatures To Life (18:39) – Additional interviews and details related to the visual effects in the film.
  • Lloyd Kaufman’s Video Diary (8:58) – The Director walks through the set and discusses James Gunn’s career.
  • Gag Reel (8:12) – Fun on set as actors mess up, props misbehave and the elements cause problems during filming.
  • Theatrical Trailer
Summary (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Slither is aptly named and is about creepy crawly things that enter and exit living beings in many different ways. It takes a strong stomach to sit through some of the scenes but those who look away can imagine the horrors. For me, the film and the extras have a lot of Nathan Fillion and I call that a win.

Order your copy today!

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