Let's get one things clear right from the off. Despite various soundbites and hyperbole bandied about, this movie is not as funny or funnier than Shaun Of The Dead. It's not up there with the best of the horror comedies from the past (the likes of An American Werewolf In London, The Return Of The Living Dead, etc), but it does easily earn a place on the second tier just below them.
Michael Rooker plays Grant Grant, a small-town guy through and through,
who has his life, and physicality, changed when he's infected by an
other-worldly parasite. Hiding his changes from his wife (played by the
beautiful Elizabeth Banks) and everyone else, except his victim(s), it's
only when the local police (led by the immensely likable Nathan
Fillion) put things together that he has to hide while the changes
continue and a plan to infect the entire town develops.
Apart from those mentioned, I should also comment on Gregg Henry's
brilliant and hilarious performance as beleaguered mayor, Jack MacReady.
He's all cursewords and bluster and steals almost every scene he's in.
While the others onscreen don't make quite the same impact they are
all very good, and Tania Saulnier is a talented
young actress I'd certainly like to see in more movies.
Director and writer James Gunn may not top his work on the Dawn Of TheDead remake, but in many ways he makes a film that's altogether more
pleasing for genre fans; packed, as it is, full of references to genre
works and people while also providing solid entertainment and thrills
in a decent mixture of slime, gore and giggles.
Where the movie falls down slightly is in its use of juxtaposition for
comedy effect. One scene in particular, a rape (some may disagree with
that definition but that IS what it is) intercut with some drunken
singing and revelry, fails almost completely because the contrast is
just TOO jarring to take for laughs. That aside though, the sharp
script and spot-on performances (along with the decent effects and more
"out there" moments) help to make this a worthy entry into the modern