Trapped in an isolated gas station by a voracious Splinter parasite that transforms its still living victims into deadly hosts, a young couple and an escaped convict must find a way to work together to survive this primal terror.
First things first, just a quick apology for my absence. I have been away for a long weekend, and to cut a long story short, have been struggling with a lack of internet and a sports injury resulting in me getting wheeled around in a wheelchair. Not ideal But hey, I’m back in the land of the internet, so all comments and things will be answered soon, apologies for the delay!
So here I am joining in with another blogger and his new project. This review has been posted up on my good friend Ryan’s site, Rhinos Horror, as part of his new feature The Sundae Guest Review, and it’s an honour to not only be involved but to be the first one asked and featured by Ryan. Thanks again dude, and if you don’t already follow him, please rectify that and check out his site. My review of choice is for a little horror film called Splinter. It’s a film I have been wanting to review for a while, so I’ve killed two birds with one stone here and whilst some of you may have seen my write-up on Ryan’s site, I thought I would share it here too. It took an almighty effort to get this posted, with a lack of internet and having to type most of this up on my phone (Mark, I don’t know how you do it man!!) but I hope I can do the film justice.
The plot for Splinter is about as simple as it gets, a young couple Seth (Paulo Costanzo) and Polly (Jill Wagner) are out and about when they are car-jacked by the criminal Dennis (Shea Whigham) and his drug-addled girlfriend Lacey (Rachel Kerbs). The four stop off at a gas station in the middle of nowhere. At the gas station a strange parasitic creature traps them inside the establishment. They then must combine their wits to overcome the creature, and that is about it plot wise. However, don’t let the apparent lack of plot put you off. Sometimes a simple plot works, and that is the case with Splinter.
One of the best things about Splinter is that it avoids the typical movie routine where someone breaks away from the group and is slowly hunted down. Smartly, the director (Toby Wilkins – on his feature film debut) keeps the action stationary and explores the space he’s given with the gas station. The film is slimmed down and doesn’t have many special effects. With the exception on one shot of someone being torn in half, the violent monster’s rampages are rather tame. Don’t get me wrong, there’s lots of blood and the illusion of gore, but the actual display of horrific scenes are as limited as they can be. This isn’t to say there aren’t horrible things that happen during the story – this is a horror film after all and there are things to make you squeamish, especially some of the body contortion scenes which are excellently done.
The small cast all perform really well here. Jill Wagner is a likeable and sympathetic lead, and whilst I wasn’t convinced someone as beautiful as her would be with someone like her dorky, strange on-screen boyfriend, that aside she really was great in the role. Opposite Wagner, Shea Whigham also does a good job of muscling through and provides a strong leading man performance. As for the thing or creature itself…..well it is a spiked sea urchin-esque, slimy parasitic contaminant that absorbs and kills whatever it touches. No explanation is really given as to how it got there or where this thing came from, and I really liked that approach. Sometimes we viewers are spoon fed every little detail, and it’s nice on occasions to have to fill in the blanks with our own imagination.
Visually, the crude special effects on show here work to Splinter’s advantage. The creature’s erratic and robotic movements and the use of quick cut editing truly add a creepy vibe to proceedings. Combined with a clever plot which avoids all the usual clichés of people trying to survive, Splinter really is an excellent low-budget indie horror film that deserves a much wider audience and I highly recommend it.