Slugs ★★★½

We kicked off this year's JoeFest (named in honour of festival founder and lapsed LBer joeodber) with this adaptation of a Shaun Huston novel directed by Juan Piquer Simón, who brought us the wonderfully distasteful splatterfest Pieces. And it's hard to imagine a much better opener for a week long celebration of all things shite and beautiful. Goopy fx, gory deaths (critters exploding out of a man's face over lunch is a solid highlight), gastropods with more pulling power than a hydraulic winch, bizarre musical choices, stilted dialogue and clunky dubbing make for a fine time.

For the most part, the Spanish actors in the cast are over-dubbed with American accents, which is logical given the setting but makes the choice of endowing bespectacled lab boffin 'John Foley' with the most awfully British accent imaginable stand out like a sore thumb - in a really good way. This guy could accidentally trigger a nuclear meltdown, calmly tell you everything was going to be OK and you'd believe him. John Battaglia walks off with grouchiest small town sheriff in a supporting role, but Santiago Álvarez is the unlikely hero of Slugs, flying the flag for the power of geek.

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