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Splinter (2008)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Toby Wilkins

Starring:
Shea Whigham/Dennis
Paulo Costanzo/Seth
Jill Wagner's/Polly
Rachel Kerbs/Lacey
6 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
A young couple in the mood for camping, love and more love see their romantic get-away go to Wall Mart (aka hell) when they are taken hostage by some escaped convict and his happy go heroine trinket. Shite goes from that sucks to that sucks hard when then find themselves trapped in an isolated gas station battling a parasite right out of THE THING school!
THE LOWDOWN
All right I'll admit, I went to see SPLINTER because I dug the title. Seriously. I knew jack-shat about the flick, didn't recognize any of the actors in it, had never seen a trailer for it…but…that title man… SPLINTER… it just called out my name (maybe I was having TMNT flashbacks) and you know what, I'm happy I answered it.

I had fun with SPLINTER! Was it original? Not really. We've seen this "heroes stuck inside a claustrophobic setting with a baddie on the outside wanting in" game a bazillion times before (shite that's what I did last weekend). And even its monster angle (the splinter device aside) felt mucho familiar (Leviathan anyone?) But where SPLINTER aced it was in the way it set up my sorry ass and then delivered the goods. Its narrative progression was engaging and effortless and the fact that I really dug the peeps here also helped keep me in the game. The nuanced characterization rang true for the most part, more so than the horror movie norm, the actors played it down and grounded and the chemistry between the key cast was "on". Result; I dug these people for who they were, bad, good and everything else in between.

On top of that, SPLINTER offered up something I've been craving to see all year, a damn monster movie. Feels like all I've been subjected to now of late is torture, home invasion stuff or more torture. Enough! I want fantasy for f*cks sakes! And I got it. The monster in SPLINTER was a hoot! The concept as to how it functioned genius, the execution of it was mostly practical effects and from what I saw of it (more on that below); it was a beastie to be reckoned with. Big props and two bisexual babes dressed up as nurses with thermometers up their ying-yangs to director Toby Wilkins for using what he had and milking so much entertainment and tension out of it. I kept being reminded of Chuck Russel's THE BLOB remake in terms of energy, vibe and scares. Yes that is a compliment. Add to all that a couple of gory moments that came through and a well oiled sense of humor and you get a horror flick that would've been real comfortable playing at a drive in the 80's.

On the flip side of the dead whore, I had a few qualms with the flick. First, I know the bulk of the shaky cam jive found here was too hide budget limitations (like the creature for example) but that didn't change the fact that it annoyed me a tad. I was snorting Tylenol after my screening to kick that headache. Same went for the oh so convenient fact that our hero happens to be a major in biology hence able to decipher what was going on with the monster. COME ON! That was a too convenient for me to swallow - "insert own sexual pun here". Odd character reactions to the events (umm…monster kicking it – be scared!) and dumb moves to serve the plot were also on hand and they leapt out of the screen at me and then some. NOTE: If somebody gets their arm cut off, it hurts right? Like real bad? Like "passing out" bad right? Wouldn't know from this film.

Overall SPLINTER was maybe not the smartest or the more unique film of the lot but it had its heart and balls in the right place. We got solid characters and a buck and a half of suspense laced monster fun! I'd buy that for a dollar!
GORE
The flick was grisly enough, let's just say that the monster didn't f*ck around when it came to having the ketchup fly. Going into details would ruin some key scenes from the film –so I won't.
ACTING
Shea Whigham (Dennis) managed to be scary, despicable and likeable all at the same time. He played up to the layers which resulted in a strong show. Paulo Costanzo (Seth Belzer) was credible in his role while Jill Wagner's (Polly Watt) performance reeked of inner strength. Made her very appealing. Rachel Kerbs (Lacey) wasn't in the film long but she pretty much stole every scene she was in. Somebody to keep tabs on!
T & A
None whatsoever…how did that happen? I must have missed the memo.
DIRECTING
Toby Wilkins slam dunked an energetic, stylized and often atmospheric show. He also had a strong handle on tension and delivering scares. Dude should go places!
SOUNDTRACK
We get a groovy score that fit the film's tone and that backed up its frightening bits like a ribbed rubber.
BOTTOM LINE
SPLINTER did smell of been there done that in terms of set-up and core plot; but its superior characters, its solid acting, its amusing monster and the high octane way that it delivered the goods made up for that. This monstre bash won't save the world but it will get a couple of smiles, howls and giggles out of ya. Last I checked… nothing wrong with that.
BULL'S EYE
You can also see Shea Whigham in South of Heaven and Pride and Glory with Colin Farrell.

Paulo Costanzo was a lead in ROAD TRIP. So that's where I know him from!

Toby Wilkins' next film is the STD THE GRUDGE 3. May god have pity on his soul.
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8:03AM on 11/14/2009
pretty good monster movie.... nothing spectacular, but a decent way to spend an hour or two... the cast were pretty good, and the monster was interesting (the whole less is more thing worked well).... A recommended rental at least
pretty good monster movie.... nothing spectacular, but a decent way to spend an hour or two... the cast were pretty good, and the monster was interesting (the whole less is more thing worked well).... A recommended rental at least
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11:21PM on 11/04/2009
I'd enjoyed it. Good cast, killer creature, good pacing, and Jill Wagner is a babe.
I'd enjoyed it. Good cast, killer creature, good pacing, and Jill Wagner is a babe.
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9:35PM on 08/31/2009
This was one vicious and intense creature feature that entertains as well as terrifies and grosses out. I thought the acting was surprisingly strong and the idea was simple but clever, the filming was also good creating a 1970's early 1980's feel. This movie kept me on the edge of my seat for 82 minutes with its jolts and monster action and its strong lead actors. The thing that kind of bothered me was that it didn't fully explain where the nasty creature came from other than it's attracted to
This was one vicious and intense creature feature that entertains as well as terrifies and grosses out. I thought the acting was surprisingly strong and the idea was simple but clever, the filming was also good creating a 1970's early 1980's feel. This movie kept me on the edge of my seat for 82 minutes with its jolts and monster action and its strong lead actors. The thing that kind of bothered me was that it didn't fully explain where the nasty creature came from other than it's attracted to heat and the film could of been a little bit longer. Overall this is one solid creature feature that I hope has a sequel on the way because I really enjoyed this. Recommended!
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