Splinter (2008)

splinter poster

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!

sundae review

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.

splinter hand

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.

splinter car

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.

splinter cast

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.

splinter

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.

7 stars

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45 Comments

  1. A lot of people brush this film off too quickly. I actually really enjoy it and often recommend it to those looking for something different.

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    • Glad you enjoyed it too Mike. Yeah I like recommending it, so doing this for another site also helps spread the word! Definitely under-rated and under-watched! :)

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  2. theipc

     /  January 14, 2013

    Nice! Splinter is all sorts of awesome!!

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  3. nice article. One of my favorite monster movies!

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  4. Um, you forgot to swoon over Jill Wagner. Please commence the swooning over Jill Wagner.

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    • Ha, I know, I wanted to write more about her…..and show more images…..I got a tweet from her, made my day! :)

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      • That is awesome! Man she is great, loved her on Wipeout but she showed some real acting chops in Splinter.

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        • Yeah she is on Wipeout (UK tv) at the moment, I watch it a lot, and great she made the transition into leading lady here. She was the best thing on show here thats for sure :)

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  5. wordschat

     /  January 14, 2013

    I love the tag line “It will get under your skin”. Did you find it on Netflix Tyson? Looks good. As for typing on the cell I do it from work during breaks or after a movie after a bite. Some sites the comment window is a real pain as it doesn’t resize optimize for mobile. I’m dying to see VHS if can find it streaming. Sure I ran by it. Get back on your feet soon

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    • Nah I own the dvd dude. Not sure if it’s on Netflix, hope it is, you could do a lot worse than giving this a watch. VHS is one I’m hoping to catch very soon too. Thanks my friend :)

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  6. Just getting to grips with the phone then eh? It’s a piece if piss man LOL.

    Great review though bro. I don’t normally go in for these types of films, as you know, but this sounds good. Also, I like Shea Whigham so I’ll give this a go.

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    • Piece if piss?! Haha that why I struggled, missed so many spelling bits and had to get Ryan to check it all as wifi kept disappearing. All this snow messed it up!

      Cheers though, and yeah its not too horrific gore wise, and well worth it for just a short, fun movie. Hope you like it if you ever catch it Mark :)

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  7. Good one, Tyson. I enjoyed this little horror film cause it did so many little things right and you could connect with those going through the ordeal.

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    • Thanks Michael. Yeah thats it in a nutshell really. Nothing spectacular or anything, but it didnt need to be. Just a really good survival movie :)

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  8. This was a lot better than I thought it was going to be as well. A nice low budget horror film that really did work from start to finish. Great review.

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    • Cheers mate, yeah it did work really well. Despite the tiny cast it never got boring, and the creature was unique to say the least! :)

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  9. gregory moss

     /  January 14, 2013

    Nice write up, Tyson! :) Definitely have to check this one out. Sorry to hear about your injury – how long will you have to be wheelchair-bound for? By the way – I finally got a copy of ‘Love’ on blu-ray and will be posting a review of it soon. :)

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    • Cheers Greg!! You should, if you dont mind a bit of low budget horror this is well worth a watch.

      Back on my feet today luckily. Cant walk much, just a muscle tear, but legs wouldnt move and had to be wheeled around…..bit embarrassing but stuff happens in sport. Should be alright within a few weeks I hope. Thanks for asking :)

      Im very jealous you have the blu ray. I have the dvd which is great, but the blu ray is only out in germany that I can find. Rumours are it will be out here end of feb. Sounds like Australia is ahead of us!! Look forward to your review :P

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  10. Loved it.

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  11. I really liked Splinter as it caught me off guard. I didn’t think it would be as solid of a film as it is and I really liked the claustrophobic atmosphere. Shea Wingham is a terrific actor (Boardwalk, anyone?) and while Splinter is far from his best work, it’s always cool seeing someone before their “breakout” roles. I also like Paulo Costanzo, ever since I saw him on Animorphs. Yeah, I went there.

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    • I havent seen Boardwalk yet (I know, I really should, and I will!!) but its good to see he has gone on to great things. I only recognize Costanzo from JOEY, but as nice as he may be, there is no way he can score Jill Wagner! ;)

      Most importantly, glad you liked Splinter. Was a nice surprise package of a film for me too! Cheers for stopping by Nick

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  12. Nice, Tyson! Another film you’ve reviewed that’s hooked me, and that I’ll add to my ‘Watch On Netflix Streaming As Soon As I Get It’ list! Pretty cool about that tweet from Jill Wagner, too. Maybe I’ll try saying something nice on my site about Lori Loughlin and see what happens!

    Now, if I could only find my Beta copy of ‘The New Kids’…

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    • Cheers Todd. Nice to see I’ve piqued your interest, thats whats its all about!

      Yeah I’ve had a few tweets from ‘celebs’ but its always good when its from someone hot so I can tell my wife Im probably going to leave her for someone famous ;)

      Good luck with Lori Loughlin :P

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  13. Yeah, this is a great one. I had so much fun with it. Happy that you enjoyed it.

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  14. Yep, I’ve had this on blu-ray since it came out. Totally agree, this is a little gem nobody really talks about. I dug that the whole thing basically took place inside the really small gas station.

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  15. Victor De Leon

     /  February 8, 2013

    TC, This movie frakking RULES! Good job, Hombre! :)

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