This film was recommended to me by a co-worker, and admittedly, I had never heard of it. I didn’t recognize the names of who made it or who was in it. Once it started, I did notice that the stoner guy from Road Trip, Paulo Costanzo, was in it. Watching a movie I have never heard of generally results in one of two things. I either think back on the time I spent watching the movie and wish that I had never heard of it ever and wish I could undo ever hearing of it, or I enter with such little expectations of it that I can be thoroughly entertained. In the case of Splinter, it was the latter.
Whoa! It’s that guy from that movie that kind of looks familiar! AND HE’S GOT A GUN!
Immediately after seeing some sort of insanely rabid raccoon attack and kill a gas station attendant, we can only imagine what the couple in love who are about to camp nearby have in store for themselves. You are then taken by surprise when they are carjacked and taken hostage by a strung out couple heading for Mexico. They hit some sort of creature and seek refuge at the exact gas station where the attendant was killed earlier in the film! What are the fucking odds of that?! The female carjacker gets attacked by the attendant who has now turned into some very flexible monster thing, that has splinters in precarious places, and “infects” her with splinters. As you or I would do in this situation, the three remaining individuals lock themselves in the gas station. They assume that they can wait out whatever is going on in hopes of help arriving, while also just trying to figure out what the hell it is they are being attacked by.
Horrible way to die? Exploding from trying to hold in your bloody diarrhea. YUCK.
Though this movie didn’t quite break the barriers and blow doors off theaters for the new messages it tried to convey, it was a fun homage to old creature feature films. I specifically found it to be very similar to Tremors, in a good way. I mean, Fred Ward wasn’t in this movie, but still, lots of similarities. Both films show the first attack of a creature that has no explanation and seems arbitrary. We are then introduced the main characters, who eventually come across the remnants of the first attack. The creature starts attacking, and they find refuge somewhere and start trying to use scientific reasoning and knowledge of other animals to figure out what is causing it to attack. Once figuring out what is causing it to attack, a method is devised to distract the creature using these newly found scientific clues while one character attempts to get to a vehicle. Not saying this film at all rips off Tremors, but Tremors was awesome, so I wouldn’t be surprised if those ideas subconsciously got into the minds of the writers or director.
It’s the half cousin of Thing from The Addam’s Family. Get it? Because it’s only half of a hand? Okay fine, it’s his 3/5 cousin.
One thing that I liked most about the film was that it had non-traditional characters. The male “hero” was in med school and wasn’t at all the hero type, yet wasn’t the sniveling cry-baby or nerd that you might see in other films. The male “villain”, who was the carjacker, you discovered was on his way to Mexico to try to right some wrongs he has made, but still didn’t make you like him. Without a doubt, my favorite part of the film was an amputation scene. How can amputation be my favorite, you say? Well shut up and I’ll tell you. A splinter gets into the carjackers hand, so they realize they need to cut his arm off. Tools they find to sever the arm? A BOXCUTTER. They start cutting the flesh on his arm, down to the bone, and it is then, and only then, they realize…BOXCUTTERS CAN’T CUT A GODDAMNED BONE. So what do they do? DROP A FUCKING CINDERBLOCK ON IT. If you were to ask me the absolute LEAST efficient way to amputate someone, that would be it. But these people had to use the tools that Jah gave them, and they made it work. So brutal.
Wolfman Moon Scale