SPLINTER Blu-Ray Review

     May 9, 2009

Written by Brett Weinstock

Man do I love low-budget horror films. Though they usually never have good acting or well-written stories, there is something entertaining about these genre flicks. If you walk down the new release aisle of Blockbuster right now, there are probably fifty of these things littering the shelves, turning a profit every week- and I totally support them. Now most of the time, the movies are pretty bad, but they always have at least one redeeming quality- whether it be the typical pretty girl to look at, or inventive death sequences, I can usually find one thing to be thankful for. As I expected, “Splinter” kept that tradition going with its unique take on a deadly parasite.

The film stars Jill Wagner (the Mercury girl) and Paulo Costanzo (of “Road Trip” fame) as a young couple who decide to celebrate their anniversary by taking a camping trip. Since we all know something is going to go wrong, the movie wastes no time jumping right into conflict- they quickly break their only tent and hit the road for a local motel. On the road, they are stopped by a wandering woman, who serves as a decoy for her boyfriend who hijacks the car and makes the couple stay in the back seat. The trouble continues to build as the car starts to break down, leading them all to a gas station that seems deserted. Since this is a horror film, it’s obvious that something evil was lurking at the station, and here is where the true terror began.

The title of this film refers to the parasite that attacks a host and mutates it into a deformed, hideous (and I emphasize HIDEOUS) monster with a hunger for blood. This parasite makes the host grow these spike-looking things that splinter out and attack whatever is close. Once you have been “spiked”, you become infected and begin your quest for blood and death. Though it is just a new take on the cliché of virus infestation, the splinter idea was actually fairly refreshing as a mutated human didn’t need to be right next to you to infect you. Also, the special effects were done very well, as watching the contorted, deformed bodies attack was never boring.

Once the attack begins, the group has to survive at the gas station, without a phone or any idea of how to combat these creatures. Thought a lot of it is typical, I must admit that it was entertaining until the very end. Since the movie was short, there was not a lot of time wasted- they were constantly under attack and the intensity was at a heightened level. Without giving anything away, this continues until the climax, where we see some pretty cool story elements take place, as well as some interesting character arcs develop.

Simply put, if you are a fan of horror flicks you will find this movie worth watching. Though it wasn’t the greatest film about an evil infestation, it served its purpose as an entertaining 90-minute film. With movies like “Feast” 2 and 3 on the market now, this is a much safer option. If you don’t expect anything spectacular or a feature that is superbly acted (though it wasn’t bad), you will not be disappointed with this. In fact, you may even be impressed with the special effects and the unique splinter concept.

Film Rating: B minus

Presentation and Special Features

Since this version of the disc was on a blu-ray, the picture quality was awesome, especially considering it is a low-budget horror flick. The sound was superb also, as you could hear the steps of the monster on the roof or behind you. The blu-ray transfer was definitely a good choice, as the “grainy” horror feel was still there, but not as pronounced.

In terms of special features, there was nothing new or out of the ordinary here- there was your typical commentary tracks w/ the director and cast or crew. Though not too interesting, they at least gave a little more of the back story regarding the characters, town, etc.

The “Splinter Creature” and “Building the Gas Station” were featurettes that went into detail about creating both things. Simple, yet effective, they illustrated the conceptualization and creation process of these elements of the film. It was pretty fun to watch the person maneuver inside the contorted body suit, and I am definitely glad I didn’t take on that role!

One other feature went into detail about the beauty of shooting digitally as opposed to film. If you don’t know anything about making films, it basically talks about the cost and time benefits and the freedom it can provide for both cast and crew.

Other than that, there wasn’t anything worth mentioning to set this apart from other special features. However, it should be noted that the disc did have a fair amount of features to watch especially considering the lower budget of the film itself.

Special Features Rating: C plus

Latest News