Splinter (2008)

Genre(s): Horror
Magnolia || R - 82 minutes - $26.98 || April 14, 2009
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2009-04-16


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Toby Wilkins
Writer(s): Kai Barry & Ian Shorr & Toby Wilkins (screenplay)
Cast: Shea Whigham, Paulo Costanzo, Jill Wagner, Rachel Kerbs


Theatrical Release Date: October 31, 2008


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 2 Feature Commentaries
  • 7 Featurettes
  • Art Gallery


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

In one of the most outrageous opening scenes in the entire horror film genre, a gas station attendant in the middle of nowhere is sitting in a folding chair. He hears an animal behind him and tells it to ďshoo.Ē The animal however is not your typical one, as it looks like a cross between a porcupine, a dead beaver, and a dead porcupine all wrapped up into one cute critter. The attendant walks over to it and is then mauled to death by the creature. I laughed so hard I had to stop the movie at this point and gather myself.

Seth (Paulo Costanzo) and Polly (Jill Wagner) are in the wilderness and setting up camp. Seth is your typical hero of the movie, as though he has a girl who is just clearly out of his league in terms of looks, beauty, and everything else that women have. They are attempting to setup a tent when Seth screws it up since heís not the wilderness type and the two have to leave to find more supplies. Across the way another couple, Dennis (Shea Whigham) and Lacey (Rachel Kerbs) are two convicts on the run from the law and heading to Mexico. Theyíre truck breaks down and are forced to come up with an idea to stop the next vehicle they see and hijack it all the way to their freedom. Take a guess as to whose car they see not too much later driving by.

Lacey flags down the car and Dennis knocks on the vehicle and they hijack it. The convicts kidnap the couple and try to force Seth to drive but since heís the typical ďI canít drive stickĒ sort of guy he forces Polly to instead. While driving Seth manages to hit an animal in the middle of the road that punctures the tires of the truck and Lacey thinks it was her pet Ginger that should be dead. Seth and Lacey head over to check out the animal but it looks similar to that of the monster from the start of the film and the two run away from it screaming. The tire is replaced but another problem arises.

The vehicle however is close to running out of gas, so they have to stop at the next gas station they see, which just happens to be the gas station from the great opening scene. Lacey heads off to use the bathroom, Seth pumps the gas, and Dennis takes Polly inside the station for a few supplies. Lacey however makes a startling discovery in the bathroom after forcing the door open; the gas station attended isnít as dead as it appeared but he has mutated into something horrible.

The monster staggers back to life and stumbles out of the door, chasing Lacey back to the pumps. Dennis hears the commotion and yells at his girl to run away but the monster knocks her into an electrical pole and she dies. Heartbroken, he fires a few rounds off at the splinter to no avail and the three head back inside to the gas station. Still stricken by the loss of his girl, he tries to get her to safety even though itís obvious sheís dead and the monster that we thought was sleeping wasnít and wakes up yet again to attack Dennis. After Dennis leaves to save the dead Lacey Polly tries to lock him out of the station but Seth stupidly convinces her to let him back in, as though he does have a gun. Can the trio survive the splinter monster outside, or will it consume everything that it comes into contact with?

I actually enjoyed this movie. Believe it or not, as ridiculous as it sounds, itís executed pretty well for its sadly short runtime. The characters however are the worst part about the movie, as they act about as irrational as possible. If you could get the guy with the gun killed and wait for help to arrive, why not do it? The monster though is cool looking by my standards, and the minor twist at the end is decent too. Itís not a film you need to think that much about, hence why I probably found it better than other movies Iíve seen recently.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Commentary with Director and Cast: Wilkins, Whigham, Costanzo, and Wagner all sit down for this rousing commentary. By rousing, I mean Wilkins primarily talks throughout most of it, with the cast talking about various things as it progresses. The far superior commentary though in my opinion compared to the other one and deserves a listen after your first viewing.

Commentary with Director and Crew: Wilkins, The Director of Photography Nelson Cragg, and Editor David Michael join forces on this track, and talk mainly about the special effects and a little bit about the cast. Wilkins yet again takes center stage on this track, although the other two talk much more than the previous commentaries guests. Although the other commentary is better, I still recommend this one if you enjoyed the movie and want to know more.

The Splinter Creature (4 minutes): The monster from the movie gets an in-depth look at how the costume is used throughout the film.

The Wizard (1 minute): The special effects guy, known as The Wizard, talks about the effects from the film. Itís only a minute long, so there wasnít too much for him to do.

Building The Gas Station (2 minutes): Wilkins talks about how the gas station was made and a little bit about how hard it was to make.

Shooting Digitally (2 minutes): Wilkins yet again talks about the great benefit of shooting the film digitally. Not really sure what they were going for this with this feature though, so skip it.

Oklahoma Weather (2 minutes): Oklahoma apparently has bad weather, and this takes a look at how much of a pain it was because of that.

How to Make a Splinter Pumpkin (2 minutes): Jill gives an entertaining look at how to make a splinter pumpkin. Next Halloween youíll know which house is mine.

HDNet: A Look at Splinter (5 minutes): A basic recap of what the movie is about, and since odds are youíve already seen it, this wonít add much to your knowledge of the movie.

Finally, an Art Gallery is available to view that contains photos of various things in the movie.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

I didnít expect much out of this one, but Splinter sports an amazing transfer. Contrast is perfect throughout the film, and while most of the movie is shot at night time there are no blemishes, dark spots, or grain that distracts from the viewing. I was also pleasantly surprised at the detail of the characters, as flesh tones were near-perfect and the monster looked great. The only downside though is that at times color appeared to be a bit faded in some of the scenes, but once again this happened briefly and in maybe a handful of spots. This is a great transfer by all means.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track accompanying the movie also did wonders for me, as surround use was actively engaged for this flick. I canít recall a time when I struggled to hear the kidís voices, and a few times the surround use was so loud I even got scared by it. Yeah, I got scared twice, donít lie you probably will too when you see it. The scenes containing action towards the end of the movie were also pleasantly loud but not to the point of being distorted. Make no mistake; this is how horror films should sound on DVD.



.::OVERALL::.

Splinter is a movie that should have had a decent run in theaters but didnít due to some reason I couldnít find out. The horror is there, the creature is bad-ass looking, but the characters act irrationally at times and does take a bit of the believability out of the movie. The audio and video are a complete knockout though, and the special features contain a ton of short snippets. I recommend a quick purchase on this one, as this is one Splinter you want to catch.