Movie Review by Clyde Baehr
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Gregg Henry, Michael Rooker
Director: James Gunn
This horror-comedy is for anyone who has the complete NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET collection on DVD, for those of you who have a copy of SOCIETY or RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. This is stupid, gore soaked genre fun in the mould of CRITTERS rather than annoying spoof a la SCARY MOVIE or another ironic send-up in the SCREAM mould.
Set in Wheelsy, a small town of freaks, yokels and no hopers, well off local businessman Grant Grant (Michael Rooker) is married to the beautiful Starla (Elizabeth Banks) but unfortunately his love is unrequited and his physical affections spurned. Seeking solace he drowns his sorrows at the local honky-tonk and meets Brenda (Brenda James) the younger sister of an old flame. In an attempt to seduce him she walks him out into the woods explaining her crush and inflating his ego. Grant: “Shit, girl, you couldn’t ‘a been eleven.” Brenda: “Hell, I was game!”
Amongst the trees they discover the remains of a meteor and a strange slimy creature which penetrates Grant’s body slowly turning him into a horny meat slurping maniac. When Brenda goes missing police chief Bill (Nathan Fillion), who still carries a torch for Starla from their school days, is soon hunting Grant. But Grant is now a big wobbly squid thing and scores of giant slugs are turning the town residence into zombies. As if they weren’t weird enough already.
Nathan Fillion’s wise cracking cop is basically SERENITY’s captain only a little less capable. No great stretch but hell he’s good at it, delivering lines that could be dangerously corny in another’s hands. From the moment you see foul-mouthed town Mayor Jack Mac Ready (Gregg Henry) you’ll be waiting for him to get his deserves. Throughout the humour is wickedly off kilter, exploiting its position as a comedy to be as gross and horrible as possible, using prosthetics, animatronics and gallons of goo rather than dull CGI and avoiding the ambiguity of other alien to human conceptions and revelling in the sexual imagery, playing to the metaphor.
Ok so it’s not quite as clever as EVIL DEAD, BRAINDEAD, OR BUBBA HO-TEP, and it’s not horror comedy of the calibre of SHAWN OF THE DEAD, but what is? Instead this is bloody good fun. A deliriously enjoyable romp through the deranged and disgusting. A witty little bastard of a movie. Young, dumb and full of um, alien fluid.