Director – Toby Wilkins
Cast – Paulo Costanzo, Jill Wagner, Shea Whigham, Rachel Kerbs
Release Year – 2008
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Every so often we horror fans find hope for the future of horror in great, low budget horror films like this one. Splinter, along with epic films Feast and The Descent are great, and I mean GREAT horror films that used small budgets, and very little Hollywood influence, if any, to create what we true horror fans wish to see in every horror film. Gore, atmosphere, good scripting, and a film we can drink brew and eat pizza/wings to late at night. Haha!
Splinter’s storyline is an easy one. Seth and Polly are a couple traveling together for a weekend of camping. They don’t have the best of luck setting up camp, and decide to search for a run down motel instead given that it is most likely just as groggy as camping in the great outdoors. They soon run into another couple, Dennis and Lacey who are stranded on the side of the road and waving them down. Dennis then takes the couple hostage and forces them to take him and Lacey to Platt, Oklahoma, for yet unknown reasons. Unfortunately, the car is leaking radiator fluid and heats up near a gas station in the middle of nowhere. With no other alternatives, the group is forced to head to the gas station, where a splinter parasite has been residing after taking over the station attendant. The group is attacked by the host, and are forced to lock themselves inside the gas station. They then have to get defense and fend off the hosts as more people are taken over by the parasite and desperately try to get inside to spread the outbreak.
I really enjoyed this film, and found it to be one of the surprise horror films of 2008. After hearing about this film, I could not find it anywhere, yet I noticed it was actually on the Sci-Fi channel! I was like “What? No way? Good horror films never play on Sci-Fi!”. Although I heard nothing but good things about this film, I refused to watch it on Sci-Fi due to the fact that it was most likely heavily edited, and who wants to see crap like that? Anywho, this film has it all. Gore, an original killer(A parasite in the form of wood splinters? Nice!), and a good script, which includes an interesting back story involving why Dennis took the couple hostage. You should also know by now that I am a big fan of people being trapped and having to fend for themselves, which this film provides to us with the protagonists being trapped in a convenience store.
The killer in this film was a really unique, and fresh idea that really worked out well in the end. The parasite made it’s host do some pretty crazy things, like forcing the person’s body to contort into really crazy, painful, bone breaking positions. Yes, all this happens while the person/host is still alive! If you don’t know anything about parasites, the parasite has no use for the host once the host is dead, therefore the host is kept alive, and in painful fashion. The film also doesn’t shy away from the gore either. We are witness to bodies ripped in half, dozens of splinters coming out of people’s bodies :gets goosebumps:, and even an arm slowly, and painfully amputated in order to save the person from infection. The makeshift tools the convenience store provided for the surgery? A box cutter, and a cinder block. Wowww! I also really liked how the film’s writers threw some biology into the film. Seth is a graduate student working on his PhD in biology, and we are witness to him throwing in biology as to how they can manipulate the parasite, and use the parasite’s natural instincts to help them get out alive. Good stuff if you are a science geek(or biology major) like me!
I really would have liked it if this film had them use more of the convenience store’s supplies as weapons to fend off the hosts, very much like what we saw in the original(and remake) of Dawn of the Dead, you should know by now that I just love that stuff. Hehe. But all in all this is not a complaint, I just would have found this film more entertaining if that was incorporated into the film somehow.
Overall, this is a great, low budget film that shows you not everything has to be Hollywood produced in order to be good. If you like the idea of gore, parasites, and fending them off in isolation, then this is for you. If not, well, watch it anyway!
– I ranked this film #28 in my Top 50 Horror Movies of the Decade(21-30) post.
– I ranked this film #4 in my Top 10 Horror Movies of 2008 post.