Review Date: March 30, 2006
Director: James Gunn
Writer: James Gunn
Producers: Paul Brooks, Eric Newman
Michael Rooker as Grant
Elizabeth Banks as Starla
Nathan Fillion as Bill
Some alien meteorite falls upon a small town and infects a man who can’t seem to showcase his love for his wife. The man slowly, but very surely, begins to turn into something that cannot be described other than to say a “really horrible monster”, and slowly infects other townspeople who all turn on the mayor, sheriff and others, who are attempting to escape and kill the lead infector. Got all that? Sure you did. Now relax and have some fun!
If you’ve seen any previews for this movie, any pictures from some of its gross-out moments, you pretty much have a solid idea of what it’s all about: fun, horror and really gross stuff! If you enjoy those elements, as well as homages to cool horror flicks of the past, the typical 50s “small town” set-up, mixed in with some memorable dialogue (“That’s like looking for a needle in a fuckstack”) and enjoy the acting stylings of Nathan Fillion, the great Michael Rooker and Gregg Henry (the man swears like the best of them), this film is sure to twinkle your horror toes, particularly if mutating monsters, slugs, zombies and really disgusting scenarios are your bag o’ chips (A woman eats so much that she turns into a human balloon, that is, until she splits into two and blasts her body parts all over everyone!). I got exactly what I thought I was going to get from this movie, and maybe a little more as I really didn’t think the effects would be as effective as they were (most of them are practical, as opposed to CGI shit) and the dialogue was also a lot funner than I expected. The film starts off with your typical small town set-up, establishing all of the characters slowly, but surely, and teasing us with some effects as the “alien” being lands in a field outside of town. I thought the film was gonna dick us on the real effects, but boy, was I wrong! Once the extra-terrestrial being infects Rooker’s character, the fun really begins as he mutates and the fit hits the shan.
On the downside, things do sort of get a little “too much” at some point, with everything from aliens, slugs, werewolves and even zombies making their way into the picture. I’m personally not a fan of the zombie genre, so I found those moments a little less interesting, especially since the undead all looked like actors “acting” like zombies. The film also switches its focus from Rooker’s monstrosity to a farm family for a while, to the point that you actually forget about Rooker, who’s really the star of the film, if you ask me. That said, once he’s back in the picture, and people around town are melding themselves into his body (one of the coolest scenes in the film, which has Fillion’s character pronouncing one of the film’s funnier lines: “That is some fucked up shit!”), things get jazzed once again, with an all-out ending that actually manages to toss a little love and emotion in there as well…and you buy it! Kudos go out to actress Elizabeth Banks for coming through as the lead ingénue, as well as everyone else who played their parts to perfection, especially Fillion who had the rough chore of playing the “straight man” within all of the bloody chaos, and came through gangbusters. Big congrats to James Gunn for managing to make one of the most entertaining horror blasts from the past few years, while managing to maintain that sense of fun, gore and even a little emotion, all at the same time. It might not be the most original film in the world, but it’s more of an homage pic anyway, and if horror, gore and campy monster flicks are what butters your toast, check this film out asap!
(c) 2014 Berge Garabedian