The Principals: Toby Wilkins (director / writer), Kai Barry, Ian Shorr (writers); Paulo Costanzo, Jill Wagner, Shea Whigham, Rachel Kerbs (actors)

The Premise: Two campers and two criminals become trapped at a gas station and are besieged by a hostile parasitic life form that turns its host into bizarre, vicious berserkers.

“None of the things I wanted to happen to my hand are happening!”

Is it Good: Yep. You gotta love a movie where they don’t feel the need to explain what this Splinter thing is, where it came from, and what it’s favorite color is. It just is, and it’s immediately kicking peoples asses. The film is well shot, well edited, atmospheric, well acted, and violent as hell. It also has no problem in showcasing some pretty ghastly injuries. As a result, yes, it is a delight.

Is it Worth a Look: Definitely. As far as small, off the path horror flicks go, this is one of the better ones in a years. Splinter has lot of practical effects, full knowledge that it’s living in a world inspired by many other better horror films, and it winds up pulling it off with aplomb. We’re had too many films where an innocent couple runs afoul of criminals and gets tossed into danger, but this one does a really nice job balancing the archetypes without letting them be stereotypes. Shea Whigham’s really good here playing a character that really felt like he was going to be dreadful to endure.

And the filmmaking is really solid. And vicious. Limbs are removed, viscera is thrown to the four winds, and people break and bend in seriously akimbo ways. Human life hasn’t been this manhandled onscreen since the Jonas Brothers 3-D Experience.

I fully recommend this. Hell, I bought the damn Blu-ray for it.

Another satisfied
Irreversible Dinner Theater customer uses the restrooms during the intermission.

Random Anecdotes:
I’ve heard people describe this film as nothing more than a sample reel to sell filmmaker Toby Wilkins to the studios. A proof of concept piece. That’s a crock of shit. This film is terrific in its own right and representative of what horror filmmakers SHOULD be doing. It’s not all that original of an idea but it does it so well it doesn’t matter. I’ll take this over the stuff where filmmakers overstretch and end up doing no one any good. And by the way, if this had been hyped up like Cabin Fever I still would have left the theater satisfied because this accomplished so much more with so much less. Actor Paulo Costanzo looks about as Italian as a pint of Guinness. Jill Wagner is a pretty woman.

Cinematic Soulmates: The Thing, Cabin Fever. The Ruins. TMNT.

Aloha, Mr. Hand!

Purchase from Amazon on Blu-ray.
Purchase from Amazon on Regular DVD.

The Tally So Far:

State of Play
3000 Miles to Graceland
The Last Supper
Things to do in Denver when You’re Dead
World’s Greatest Dad
Lady Beware
Pitch Black
For All Mankind

The Children
It’s Alive
Friday the 13th, Part 3
Columbus Day
Angel Eyes