Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, it’s another “let’s board up and defend against the monsters” horror flick. Splinter may not be as good as Feast, but it will do just fine. This is a full-blooded horror B movie, with a decent story and very good pacing. It’s the pacing that will get ya because the movie unfolds at just the right speed. Too bad the characters are pretty generic because this had cult classic written all over it. I mean, the damn thing opens with a ferocious raccoon attack. Raccoons are scary without being all fucked up and rabid but this one is just terrifying. It will set the mood well for what’s about to follow.
Splinter is more of an homage to the sub-genre than a new entry. The crew was fully aware of this and actually tried to turn this bug into a feature. And they made it, creating a very fun and entertaining movie to start off your body horror movie night. And there will be some body horrors here alright. These days there are so many crappy movies with bad plots, special effects, and especially acting, so Splinter with all its faults is actually a very nice addition. Just think of all those movies that you had to turn off after the first fifteen minutes. With a runtime of just over eighty minutes, you won’t have to do that here.
Seth Belzer and Polly Watt are a young couple looking to escape the city life, at least for one, romantic weekend. As their destination, they picked the ancient forests of Oklahoma. Everything was going fine until they got carjacked by a strange couple. However, all of them find themselves at an abandoned gas station after they hit a splinter on a road. Soon, they will realize that the gas station is actually not abandoned…
The movie that has to be mentioned here is Slither, released just two years earlier and featuring a similar story but with a much funnier outlook. Splinter is more menacing, especially towards the end. This is where Shea Whigham shines as Dennis Farell, a criminal who’s looking just trying to stay alive. With a cast that consists of four main characters, it’s odd to say that all of them were good, but that’s just the truth.
On a personal note, I just love those movies where our characters are forced into one building and then attacked by some creepy monster. Here, the monster is not some CGI atrocity, but a “real” thing, done mostly with practical effects giving it this old-school look, reminiscent of The Thing. Finally, I am sincerely hoping that this wobbly camera thing will fade away in the next few years. I think this started with The Blair Witch Project, but whenever it was, it was enough. Here, the movements are not that erratic, so you can actually focus on what’s going on on the screen, but the wobble is still noticeable.
Director: Toby Wilkins
Writers: Ian Shorr, Kai Barry, Toby Wilkins
Cast: Shea Whigham, Paulo Costanzo, Jill Wagner, Rachel Kerbs
Fun Stuff: Various items seen on sale in the gas station are all donations of local businesses.