Released Oct. 31, 2008
Rated R – 1 hr 22min
Directed by Toby Wilkins
Starring Shea Whigham, Jill Wagner, Paulo Costanzo
A young couple (Wagner & Costanzo) on a camping holiday are taken hostage by an escaped convict (Whigham) and his junkie girlfriend. When a collision with a malformed animal punctures their truck’s radiator, they’re forced to a nearby gas station, where something sinister is on the hunt.
Splinter is both gorey, gloopy, spiky body horror and a suspenseful monster siege flick – one of numerous descendants of John Carpenter’s The Thing.
Splinter has simple ambitions – be a good monster movie, and for that, it’s successful. It’s solid, but not great, and that holds up for virtually every element of the movie – the acting, the script, the direction, the creature design; it’s all good, but nowhere does Splinter try and push any proverbial envelopes to speak of. Nothing wrong with that, but it did get mostly overlooked when it was released and mostly forgotten in the meanwhile, so perfunctory has its drawbacks.
While on the topic of drawbacks, Splinter does have a couple noteworthy yet nit-picky ones. The editing is jarring – for most every monster attack, the camera just seizures wildly while the cuts unfurl at a lightning pace. This is the same popular technique that turned Matt Damon and Liam Neeson into certified action stars, so that might be more my problem than the film’s. The forgettable score (which somehow won Best Musical Score at the 2008 Screamfest Awards while I can’t recall even hearing one) is another gripe, but I don’t really want to beat up on the movie too bad for these smaller aspects when it’s above average on all the fundamentals.
So Splinter will definitely scratch any monster movie itch you might have, even if it doesn’t impress you much along the way. And for those who remember 2000 frat-bruh comedy Road Trip, it’s got that one guy in it. No, not Stifler – the other guy. No, not him either, or the goofy-looking one, and by goofy-looking one, not Tom Green either. The other other guy. Yeah, him. Whatever happened to him? He starred in Splinter, apparently.
Splinter gets a