REVIEW: SPLINTER(2008)

SPLINTER

Director: Toby Wilkins

Writers: Kai Barry, Ian Shorr, Toby Wilkins

Awards:
Splinter won six awards at the Screamfest Horror Film Festival: Best Editing, Best Score, Best Special Effects, Best Make-Up, Best Directing and Best Picture.
Splinter was nominated for Best Horror Film award by the 35th Annual Saturn Awards. Winners are due to be announced at a ceremony in Burbank, CA, on June 24th 2009.

A Brief Synopsis:
A young couple (played by Paul Costanzo and Jill Wagner) are out for an anniversary weekend of fun and camping.  Having to head back into town, they are stopped at gunpoint by two hitchhiking criminals heading north (played by Shea Whigham and Rachel Kerbs).  Things go from bad to worse as the group get a flat while running over a strangely active bit of roadkill.  Pulling into a gas station to take care of a busted radiator, the night takes a horrific turn as a strange, parasitic SPLINTER creature with the ability to inhabit, completely distort human (and any other mammal) bodies to use as their own personal death vehicles to attack other creatures while it continues to devour the creature it inhabits from the inside out.  CAN IT BE STOPPED?  WHO WILL SURVIVE?  WHAT WILL BE LEFT OF THEM?  (Wait, can I use that last bit?)

This movie was fantastic.  I can see why it won all of those freakin’ screamfest awards.  The makeup was spot on, the story was spot on, and most importantly (and something that generally brings down a good independent horror flick) the writing and acting was great!  I was drawn in by the story from the word go and the movie took hold and didn’t let go for the entire ride.  For fans of the site, it’s no real secret that I’ve been excited by this film since I first heard about it some months ago.  I mean, a movie set entirely in the backwoods, mainly a backwoods old gas station is sure to drag me in (look at the name of the site for cryin’ out loud), so when I found out that I was getting a review copy, I was stoked.  I watched the film a few days ago and decided not to write a review right after I saw it in order to let it roll around in the ‘ol noggin’ for a while.  I wanted to get over my initial excitement and see if the movie still had me after a while.

It does boils ‘n ghouls, without a doubt.

The only negative I can find with the movie would have  to be with the monster itself.  Though the last bit of the movie showed a good bit of the creature (in a way), I could’ve done with more.  I understand that keeping it to the shadows was probably both a budgetary and asthetic necessity, but, as with any good creature feature, I want to see the monster!  The hand gag, however, was freakin’ hilarious and reminded me of THE EVIL DEAD 2 a great deal.  I could probably have used a little more on the gore as well, but that’s just personal bias there.  What can I say, at times, I’m a gore hound.  One of the best aspects of the film would have to be watching Owen (from THE BACKWOODS HORRORSHOW and THE LINUX BLOG) jump at all the right places.  It’s great to see that kind of reaction from a horror film.

I look forward to the work Toby Wilkins will be doing in the future.  We have the potential for a new horror great on our hands.