Aki Vs. Evil: Slither

James Gunn’s first directing effort after quite a few writing gigs. I do enjoy his loyalty to certain people around him, like Michael Rooker.

Spoilers.

Grant finds a weird alien, which takes over his body. The alien then proceeds to use the body for its own purposes, including infesting other people as well, turning them into weird mutants either for gathering energy or breeding purposes for the alien.

Pretty common premise. I guess these are even a subgenre of their own. Starting with Invasion of the Body Snatchers in the 50s, The Thing, The Faculty, Night of the Creeps and I guess a few years after our movie, The Crazies. The thing is, the original 50s Invasion had a pretty clear source of inspiration: “commies”. There were fears all around the world of Soviet spies infiltrating various societies. The Thing (the 80s version) feels like it’s almost a comment on how the paranoia of infiltration can have even worse repercussions than the infiltration itself. The Faculty feels like it’s about the chasm and power imbalance between students and the faculty. I don’t remember much of The Crazies, but for some reason my brain wants to say it’s about the opioid epidemic in the US, although I’m not sure how much that was talked about in 2008.

But what about 2006, when Slither came out? What’s the insidious entrenchment that they are commenting on here? I really don’t know and that leaves the movie somewhat flat. It feels more like a homage to those alien invasion movies (and perhaps Society), but doesn’t really have something to say like those others have in the past. Similar to Night of the Creeps (as far as I remember, because I haven’t seen it in ages either), it’s just fan service for horror fans. In fact, fans of that movie even accused this movie of plagiarizing that one, but I would file that under not understanding the difference between stealing and utilising genre tropes (again, with the caveat that I don’t remember much about Night of the Creeps, but perhaps we’ll get to that once I rewatch it for this series).

Do movies need to say something? Not necessarily, but in general I hope they would. I guess you could argue that this is about the complexity of human relationships and missed opportunities or something along those lines, but I’m not feeling it. It feels more like James Gunn just wanted to make an invasion movie without any deeper thinking than that, which is kind of disappointing, as his other movies (Super and Guardians of the Galaxy, vols 1 & 2) all feel like they have something to say.

Did James Gunn make this movie out of desperation to finally direct+ He had directed some shorts and written quite a few movies by that point (Tromeo & Juliet, Specials, Thirt13n Ghosts, Dawn of the Dead remake and Scoopy-Doo). Maybe he just needed to come up with something commercial enough to find the a studio to do it.

Not that the movie did very well. It was kind of a flop, actually. And in hindsight that was a good thing. Why? Because if it was a big hit, we might have lost James Gunn as a moviemaker to such commercial garbage.

Well, I used a hyperbole there. It’s not garbage. It’s totally watchable. You want miss anything not watching it, but if you need something to pass the time, there are much worse options out there.

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