Rating 2½

Directed by Toby Wilkins

Written by Toby Wilkins, Kai Barry and Ian Shorr

Starring Shea Whigham (Dennis Farell), Paulo Costanzo (Seth Belzer), Jill Wagner (Polly Watt), Rachel Kerbs (Lacey Belisle), Charles Baker (Blake Sherman Jr) and Laurel Whitsett (Sherrif Terri Frankel)

Polly Watt persuades her boyfriend Seth Belzer to join her on a camping trip in the wilderness. Escaped convict Dennis Farell and his drug-addicted girlfriend Laurel Whitsett kidnap them. When the vehicle Polly is driving hits a strange creature and the damage causes the engine to overheat, they pull into an isolated and seemingly deserted gas station, where they become trapped and are menaced by a splinter-like organism that infects and takes over warm-blooded living creatures.

‘Splinter’ is a low budget horror film that was released into cinemas in the latter part of 2008, achieving a worldwide gross a little under $38,000. It has a 71% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes from 31 reviews and it won six awards at Screamfest, the largest horror film festival in the United States, including best picture and best director.

The film is very well made and clearly knows its audience, but I didn’t like it very much. I found it gruesome and unpleasant, in the first half particularly, and the rapid editing effects used whenever the creature appears quickly became extremely annoying. For horror film fans who like their films to be blood-splattered, but who don’t necessarily subscribe to the school of “torture porn”, I suspect this is a film that should come highly recommended. It left me cold.

Director and co-writer Toby Wilkins has subsequently directed the soon-to-be-released direct-to-DVD ‘The Grudge 3’, which stars Shawnee Smith, a familiar face from the ‘Saw’ horror franchise.

Review posted 23 April 2009

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