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SLUGS

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars:  Michael Garfield, Kim Terry, Philip Machale, Alicia Moro, Santiago Alvarez
Director:  J. P. Simon
Audio:  Dolby Digital Mono
Video:  Widescreen 1.85:1 Anamorphic Transfer
Studio:  Anchor Bay
Features:  Theatrical Trailer
Length:  90 Minutes
Release Date:  October 24, 2000

Film **

Iíll be darned if Iím not at a loss for words with what to say about Slugs.  All I know is during the entire 90 minutes of the movie, I kept picturing the pitch to the studio heads:  ďItís about these garden slugs, see?  And they grow big and carnivorous because of toxic waste, see?  And they eat people alive.  Itíll be great!  See?  See?ÖĒ

The film opens as so many of these films do, with teenagers on a boat in the water.  The boy gets dragged overboard by something.  The girl stands there and says, ďCome on, now, this isnít funny.  I mean it, itís not funny.  Quit kidding around.  Hey, if you donít stop this, Iím rowing back to shoreÖĒ  It occurs to me, fellows, that you might want to ask your girlfriends now while youíre thinking about it just how long you have to stay down before theyíll accept that you arenít joking.  It might come in handy down the road.

When a series of bizarre and grisly deaths occur in a small town, both local law enforcement and sanitation department work together to solve the mystery.  One finds a rather large slug in his garden that bites him.  Upon taking the thing to the lab, the scientist suspects that thereís something unusual about the creature.  His theory is confirmed when the slug gets out and eats his hamster alive.

In the meantime, thanks to one of those handy city schematic maps, we learn that these mutant slugs are coming from ďover there, where the old toxic waste dump used to beĒ.  Which is a good thing:  now that we have our explanation as to why there are giant slugs eating people, we can finally sit back and enjoy giant slugs eating people.

The whole concept behind using slugs, I imagine, was for maximum gross-out factor.  It wasnít a bad choice.  We get to see naked teenage bodies covered in blood and slugs.  We get to see a businessman eat a slug in his salad, only to have his head explode in a spray of worms later at a dinner engagement.  We get to see a sanitation worker fall into water swarming with slugs, where they do their best piranha imitation.

I canít help but notice that this is the kind of horror film that stems from the old science paranoia tradition of the late 50ís and early 60ís, back when nuclear war was a new and terrifying threat, and suddenly every science fiction and horror film from Godzilla onward grew out of our cultural fear of science and technology destroying us.  Of course, Iím no scientist.  I canít say for sure that old toxic waste wonít come back to haunt us in the form of giant flesh eating slugs.  Iím just saying that Iím not going to be losing much sleep over the possibilities.

Video **1/2

This is a decent anamorphic transfer from Anchor Bay.  No real image problems here, except for a little bit of noticeable grain here and there, mostly in the darkest shots.  The print was clean, and images are mostly sharp and clear, with only momentary spots of softness.  Coloring is very good throughout:  natural, bright, and well contained.  Itís about as good as a flesh eating slug picture can hope to look.

Audio **1/2

No real complaints about the 2-channel mono mix.  Dialogue is clear throughout, and there are moments that indicate a bit of dynamic range as the screams and the shrill musical score kick in.  I noticed no problems with hiss or noise.  Overall, a perfectly decent listen, nothing more, nothing less.

Features *

Only a trailer.

Summary:

They ooze.  They slime.  They kill.  Theyíre on DVD.  If youíre looking for a good scare movie with maximum squirm effect, Slugs is just the cinematic treat youíre looking for.  But seriously, Iíd put the salad down before you start the movie.