My expectations weren’t exactly high as I have seen another film directed by James Gunn. “Slither” was just one of those forgettable, less than mediocre horror films which you pick out from Blockbuster when you get desperate after perusing the aisles for over 40 mins.
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This is a film that pretty much destroys any preconception you may have of superhero movies.
First of all, this really isn’t a superhero film, despite what the cover reveals, or the fact that Ellen Page is in this one, who, taking Hard Candy and Inception aside, typically plays the quirky, tomboy-ish type girl. Examples are Whip it or Juno.
The other main cast and central figure is Rainn Wilson, who after his wife runs away with a drug dealing scumbag Kevin Bacon, decides to “rescue” her from her very certain drug-filled doom. To deal with the pain of losing her and feeling incredibly inferior in his day to day life, he goes a bit off the rails and dreams that God himself tells him to fight evil. He is inspired by a pretty lame superhero called The Holy Avenger who preaches post marital sex and a good diet.
Still sounds ok, yeah? Yeah.
To do his research on superheroes, and to sculpture his alter ego “The Crimson Bolt” he visits a comic book store where he meets the shop assistant and comic enthusiast Ellen Page.
His first attempts are as expected, funny, clumsy and seem to indicate that he just isn’t cut out to be a superhero.
Until he gets the advice to carry a weapon.
The chosen weapon is a wrench and believe me, he gets very wrench-happy. And this is when things take a darker turn. Suddenly the slightly pitiful but likeable character shows his dark side and demonstrates what can happen when mere mortals believe they are chosen to fight crime.
To be fair, any sane person probably wouldn’t put on a mask and go crime hunting, so we have to question how sane any superhero really is. Not surprising that many of the most famous superheroes all suffered from traumas in one way or another and then became masked fighters (recently found out that Spiderman was molested as a child, Jesus!). So it might not actually be that far fetched that this loser turns a bit psychotic when taking on a second identity.
The surprising thing is, though the film gets darker by the minute, it also gets oddly sad and while you may not endorse Rainn’s brutality, you still kind of want him to “win”.
Ellen Page does a great job looking like a bit of a twat who likes comics too much to really understand the consequences of Rainn’s actions, however, yet again, we see another side of her when it turns out that she is just as disturbed maybe even more so than Rainn himself.
Not to spoil the ending, this is a brilliantly refreshing watch which will have you raise your eyebrow several times and put you through some internal confusion about what you are actually watching.
I really enjoyed it due to that ever changing nature. Genre? Well who needs to stick to boundaries anyway these days, eh?