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SLITHER

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James Gunn, who wrote 2004's smart update of Dawn of the Dead, makes his directorial debut with this comedy-horror thriller about a small Southern town under attack by crazed slugs from outer space. Slither is a throwback to the simply plotted squirmfests of yore ... a decent cop, a nice girl and some local goobers take on an alien invasion ... and that's a good thing. Gunn, who also wrote the script, exhibits genuine affection for this shriek-and-giggle genre that is more about entertaining than horrifying. Laughs abound, but be sure to bring both hands to cover your eyes, because despite the yuks, Gunn really delivers the yucks: thousands of slimy, fast-moving slugs; the vivisection of both man and beast; and a jaw-dropping oozing blob made up of townsfolk. Chock-full of nods to many of your zombie/alien drive-in faves, Slither is a welcome respite from the recent batch of unfunny, grisly body-part shockers. Gross me out sure, but make me laugh. (AH)

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