There are two types of spring movies - the type that has to be released in spring, and the type that happens to be released in spring. In the first category, all the bland movies that don't stand a chance against the blockbusters of summer or the Oscar darlings of December (think Welcome to Mooseport or Agent Cody Banks 2). And in the latter category, the rare, creative films some moviegoers will hate, but others will fiercely adore. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a good example, or going back a few more years, Kill Bill 2. Films in this category will never be blockbusters financially, but these gems could stand on their own regardless of their release date.
It would be tempting to put Slither in the bland, has-to-be-a-spring-release category. Indeed, most recent horror movies have the stink of spring desperation. But Slither is better than that. It was way too much fun to be labeled as springtime filler. Although an alien invasion movie with thousands of large, resourceful slugs may not be for everyone, anyone who grew up on 80's B-movie horror/comedies will not be disappointed.
James Gunn's script was pretty straightforward. "Martians" invade and infest, and it is up to a likeable band of townspeople to save the world. The story was simple, but it was the details that made Slither so enjoyable. It is a rare and wonderful thing when you can laugh and be thoroughly grossed out at the same time. For example, the alien "leader" infested a citizen, sent out slug-like larvae to infest more citizens and ended up looking like a multi-headed Jabba the Hut, only uglier. He also happened to have a penchant for Air Supply. Now that is just good stuff.
Nathan Fillion of Firefly/Serenity fame was a great cast as Slither's small-town sheriff and our hero. Not since Harrison Ford's early years has there been a young leading man with such great comic timing. Gregg Henry's role as Mayor MacReady was a perfect cast as well. For fans of 1980's television, he should look really familiar. He has been in episodes of about every '80's series ever made (Moonlighting, Simon & Simon, Remington Steele, Voyagers!, Jake and the Fat Man, etc. ). He was a nice touch. And he also had some of the best lines in the movie. His character wasn't the greatest mayor, but he was one great victim.
I have only one very small suggestion for Slither - outtakes would have been fun to see during the ending credits. Fans of Firefly know that Nathan Fillion enjoys making creative outtakes. A movie like Slither must have created a long and satisfying blooper reel; I guess we will just have to wait until the DVD release to enjoy them. To the movie's credit however, the song played during the ending credits was pretty enjoyable in itself.
For anyone raised on 1980's horror comedies like Night of the Comet or Fright Night, Slither is like coming home. And when a movie makes you feel that happy after grossing you out for 90 minutes, calling it a "B movie" doesn't do it justice. It was at least a B+.