Friday, 23 July 2010
Director: James Gunn
Screenplay: James Gunn
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Rooker, Gregg Henry, Tania Saulnier and Jenna Fischer
Running Time: 95 minutes
Genre: Horror, comedy, science-fiction
Summary: A meteorite crashes near the quiet, small town of Wheelsy, South Carolina, and splits open to reveal a small, pale alien creature. The creature is discovered by local bigwig Grant Grant (Rooker), and it shoots a small dart from it's back which burrows into Grant''s chest. Grant develops an insatiable hunger for meat, and his young wife, Starla (Banks), begins to notice bizarre physical changes. The town's sheriff, Bill Pardy (Fillion), investigates as pets, livestock and eventually people start to go missing. Pardy discovers that Grant has transformed into a grotesque, multi-limbed monster and has been breeding countless slug-like aline parasites, which break out and start to infect the town's population.
Opinions: This movie is a blend of comedy and horror and mostly it works very well. It looks back to earlier horror films such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Night of the Living Dead (1968) and in particular the early David Cronenberg films such as Shivers (1975) which has it's notorious parasite in the bathtub scene referenced here, and Rabid (1977). The plentiful gruesome special-effects range from being pretty impressive to fairly average CGI monsters. The film benefits enormously from having genuinely likeable and engaging characters. The cast are all good, with Nathan Fillion (who is probably best known for starring in the TV series Firefly (2002) and it's spin-off film Serenity (2005)) being a particular standout, showing himself as a talented comic actor as well as making a convincing action hero. Of course, it's in the mix of genres where so many horror-comedy films fall down but this one successfully sidesteps the trap, managing to be genuinely funny as well as generating real tension and shocks. The movie is well written and writer-director James Gunn keeps everything moving fast. Surprisingly, the film was a box-office flop when it was released, which is a real shame because it is a lot of fun. I can imagine it might be because the film was too gruesome for a lot of comedy fans and too light-hearted for some of the hard-core horror fans. However I can imagine it becoming a something of a cult hit on DVD, which would be only right for a movie such as this which wears it's "B" movie credentials proudly.