If your idea of fun involves zombies, monstrous physical transformations and alien slugs bent on world domination, look no further than James Gunn's gleeful homage to all things gross and horrible actually makes good on the "horror comedy" label by being both flat-out creepy and darkly funny. Little Wheelsy, who-knows-where, is the kind of town where nothing ever happens until something spectacularly awful does. Like, say, the fiery arrival of a meteor bearing some greasy, gelatinous extraterrestrial life form whose nature demands that it eat and breed in the most repellent possible ways. Its path crosses that of wealthy local businessman Grant Grant (Michael Rooker), who's out in the woods flirting with local tart Brenda Gutierrez (Brenda James), who's far more receptive to his advances than his trophy wife, Starla (Elizabeth Banks). Faster than you can say "ooooh, nasty," the interstellar Jell-o has infected Grant with its not-of-this-earth DNA, rapidly mutating him into some kind of squidlike, flesh-gobbling horror. The Grant-thing finds an unfortunate host to incubate an army of alien slugs that worm their way into the friendly townsfolk in the most revolting ways possible and transform them into acid-spitting, hive-minded zombies. Standing between Grant-thing's army of grossness and the world: Gutsy Starla, unflappable Sheriff Bill Pardy (SERENITY's Nathan Fillion), who's loved her since they were kids, and plucky teen Kylie Strutemyer (Tania Saulnier), whose disgustingly close encounter with the slugs has given her some useful insights into what they want and how they plan to get it. "Well now, that is some f---ed up s--t," remarks Pardy, which just about sums matters up. Clearly a fan of the first order, Gunn loads the film with in-jokes, allusions and homages to horror films ranging from obvious nods to INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956), THE BLOB (1958), NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968) and THEY CAME FROM WITHIN (1976) to a subtle tip of the hat to ROSEMARY'S BABY (1968), by way of the Castavets farm. Gunn's heart belongs to '80s masters of horror like Sam Raimi, John Carpenter, David Cronenberg and Frank Henenlotter (who gets his name on a prominently displayed banner promoting the local "Deer Cheer Festival"), but he's an equal-opportunity fan who also pays his respects to the underrated SQUIRM (1976) and NIGHT OF THE CREEPS (1986); even DEADLY BLESSING (1981), a low-water mark in Wes Craven's career, gets its moment in the slime.
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- Released: 2006
- Rating: R
- Review: If your idea of fun involves zombies, monstrous physical transformations and alien slugs bent on world domination, look no further than James Gunn's gleeful homage to all things gross and horrible actually makes good on the "horror comedy" label by being b… (more)