Written by: jmh314
Recently when it comes to know horror films, I have been falling victim to a recent problem: hype. I hear about a new film and how great it is, so then the film is built up in my head as something its not. That is the case with Toby Wilkins film Splinter. I have been hearing phenomenal things about it ever since it hit the festival circuits. I waited patiently, soaked in the rave reviews, and in-turn my head hyped it into what I was hoping would be one of the best horror experiences I have seen in recent years. So the day came to pop in Splinter and I will say I enjoyed it but that it was a much different beast than I expected. It was slower and a lot less intriguing than I had built up in my head and ultimately wasnt as creative as I hoped. However, I cannot let this jade my opinion of the film too much because Splinter is an interesting and fun ride but I let the hype get in the way of just sitting back and taking it all in.
Seth and Polly are on a camping trip for their anniversary. When they quick learn they know nothing about camping or pitching a proper tent, Seth convinces Polly to get out of there and find a motel to stay at instead. Along the way they see a girl on the side of the road that appears in need of help. When they stop to help her it turns out her convict boyfriend was waiting to carjack the car and hold Seth and Polly hostage. They begin to drive until they have car trouble that leads them to pull over at a gas station in the middle of nowhere and all soon realize that the gas station is empty but something still lurks. Soon it is no longer a matter of criminal vs. hostages but everyone against something entirely different....something that may or may not be able to be stopped.
The premise for Splinter is simple enough but I think for me thats where the downfall lies. It is simple and entertaining but it is almost too simple. Once we start to see what Seth and Polly and everyone are up against, thats about the end of the story. I really would of LOVED for there to be more to this story and even more to the splinter organism itself. Just felt to me like the potential was there to build this into an unstoppable entity with a crazy history but really turned into a "this is what it is and we'll leave it at that" type of story. When it was all said and done I had a lot of unanswered questions and had a slightly empty feel as I was not entirely satisfied because I was craving more
With a slightly disappointing story, the thing that really carries Splinter is the FX work. Its hard to talk about and not give parts away but there were truly some parts where I cringed. Both the visual and the sound FX for some of these parts were downright disturbing. Everything blended well and really created something special in terms of horror movie creatures. The actions and mannerisms of the splinter organism and its host body were truly impressive and were the glue that held this together. I think without the creativity of what the splinter organism is and does that this would of been another routine "stranded in a gas station/convenience store" film. Fortunately the splinter creature really kept me satisfied and provided something different than a typical "it an alien" reaction because its not even close to that.
This is one of these films that i will probably grow to love more than I did upon first viewing. I over hyped it in my head so as a result it didnt live up to my expectations. But upon rewatching it I am sure I will just sit back and enjoy it more for what it is than what I was hoping it would be. Because when i sit back here right now and think about it, Splinter truly was an entertaining film. Its got great FX, a small cast that you get invested in, an interesting premise, and its got a "creature" thats different than your typical horror movies. I think with a little more detail and story this could of been a film that wouldnt be forgotten for a long time to come. Even my personal hype aside, I think there was a missed opportunity to capitalize on the splinter organism and its effects that could of created something truly memorable. Does that mean this isnt an entertaining film? Hell no. Splinter is a really engaging film that is a lot of fun but in the end when the credits roll I cant help to feel slightly unfulfilled. That doesnt mean it wasnt a lot of fun in the process,it just left me wanting more and I would be more than open to seeing a sequel that would further expand the splinter organism. Bring it on.