A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this film features graphic gross-out horror and comedy and violence against animals (a cow, deer, dogs, and cats appear as bloody corpses). Grant becomes increasingly gory and bloody, and his body changes with extreme makeup and prosthetics (eventually, he's expanded so much that he fills a room, absorbing other bodies into his own, including one that shows his naked bottom as he sinks into the fleshy mass). The slugs jump into people's mouths, the people turn into flesh-eating zombies (some of these eating images are very gross). Characters shoot guns and stab at the monster. Characters smoke cigarettes and drink in a bar and a party, and Grant drinks once at home.
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What's the story?
Starla (Elizabeth Banks) has settled. Obviously perky, probably sweet, and certainly exciting for her high school students in her tight little skirts, she's also married to the lunkiest guy in town, Grant Grant (Michael Rooker). Starla has a more suitable partner in handsome sheriff Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion), who's had a crush on her since they were kids. She only realizes this when Grant becomes infected by an alien and tries to consume the entire town's population. After Grant is zapped by an alien through his chest, he transforms, slowly at first, and then quickly: he craves raw meat. As he turns increasingly hideous, alien-Grant sends forth a horde of blood-red parasite slugs to infect humans: these slugs shoot themselves into people's mouths, and the host bodies then become flesh-eating zombies, staggering and lurching like movie zombies tend to do. In one extended sequence, the slugs infect a family, though teenaged daughter Kylie (Tania Saulnier) fights off the invasion long enough to be rescued by Bill, who arrives just in time to see her zombified family attacking the pickup truck in which she's trapped.
Is it any good?
Goofy and gross, SLITHER revisits the old alien invasion plot with comedic violence that might bother sensitive viewers. Suitably reluctant and arrogant at the same time, Bill is disinclined to shoot things. But he's also resourceful and careful about his image. He figures out that everyone who ingests slugs is connected to Grant (they all insist, sometimes speaking in unison, that "Marriage is a sacred bond"), and so the destruction of alien-Grant is the only way to end it. "I'll keep growin'," grrrs Grant, "'Til I'm everywhere, 'til I'm everything."
What Bill doesn't see is Grant's mirroring of himself: the guy who loves the girl so hard and so long and so hopelessly that he loses himself. Lucky for him, this loss of self becomes literal for Grant and his many extensions (all ugly, all pink and oozy, all soulless). It takes some serious devastation for Starla to see her proper partner, but Bill's still waiting.