Anytime the cover of a horror film states that it has a 'best beast of the year' within its confines then damn right I'm going to have to see it. And...that's how I ended up seeing the film "Splinter".
It's a pretty impressive little horror film that's for sure. I loved the idea that it focuses on a small (that's right FOUR people!) group as they try to fight back against a very brutal and monstrous beast as it tries to turn them into its next dinner. I was excited for the smaller group because in 'monster films' when the cast is a bit more extensive many of the characters have shoddy builds and end up being waiting cadavers for the monster instead of the viewer becoming engrossed. So with only four we get some pretty solid character developments (with the running convict character eventually stealing the film with his intense work and surprise character arching towards the end) and it makes the film more satisfying.
The beast itself is definitely award worthy in concept (I'll try not to give too many of the major plot devices away here) and it rivals on the sheer brutality of changing with that of John Carpenter's The Thing in his acclaimed film. It was almost sinisterly fun to see what the hell it does in the film and how it reacts (and for that matter move) to its prey. Definitely the highlight of the film.
My one major complaint about "Splinter" would be the split personality of the directing. Wilkins does a great job at building suspense at times, like with the very intense standoff between the police woman and our heroes, but when it comes to showing off the monster he changes to a quick edit stye that gives a sense of intense nightmarish moments but ends up showing us less of the monster itself. I wanted at least one or two scenes that didn't necessarily move that quickly during an 'attack' or 'encounter' and allowed us to see the beast for what it truly was.
By the end though, I did enjoy "Splinter" quite a bit. I almost want them to build a franchise out of this one (I am a sucker for franchises even if they turn to shit 3 or 4 in) as this could be one monster that would make a pretty solid comeback. If you are a low budget horror fan then this is a definite watch.
Written By Matt Reifschneider