***½/**** Image B+ Sound A- Extras B+
starring Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Rooker, Gregg Henry
written and directed by James Gunn
by Walter Chaw Paying tribute to his Lloyd Kaufman roots with a shot in which The Toxic Avenger is on TV in the background, James Gunn's Slither is more in line with the hipster revisionism of his screenplay for Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead. Postmodernism its point, then, drying up the musty cellars somewhat of the films it riffs on, Slither misses when it does only because it has little resonance beyond the basic Cronenbergian sexual-parasites thing and the shopworn idea that Americans are voracious, disgusting, ignorant swine. (In truth, the one moment that really bugs me is a fairly demented rape sequence (involving more infant-menace than anything in the new The Hills Have Eyes) and its played-for-giggles fallout.) In place of useful sociology, it does for redneck archetypes what Shaun of the Dead did for workaday slobs, poking fun at the thin line between slack-jawed yokels (initiating deer season with a barn-busting hoedown) and beef-craving, slug-brained zombies (recalling that NASCAR now boasts its own brand of meat). The biggest surprise is that Gunn appears to have seen and liked Night of the Creeps, and that, like that film, Slither does what it does without sacrificing too much of its good-natured, self-deprecating sense of humour along the way.