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A movie directed by Toby Wilkins

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I always knew those damn porcupines were up to no good.

  • May 23, 2011
*** out of ****

Take a premise in which people are trapped in a gas-station, add a little fun twist to it, and you've got my attention and my support. The last good gas-station horror flick I saw was "The Mist", which I thoroughly enjoyed. Now comes "Splinter", which is much lesser known, but alas, equally as entertaining.

The trick to making a good gas-station horror film is to not make the gas-station the "wrong one". There are horror films that deal with "wrong gas-stations", and this is not one of them. "The Mist" is not a "wrong gas-station movie" because for one, it does not take place in a gas-station, and two, it does make it clear that people were screwed whether they hid out in a house, a grocery store, or a gas-station alike.

"Splinter" is clever when it all comes down to the final result. I liked it; it's a well-made creature feature that feels like some sort of 80's homage; made better through the fact that this may not be the intentional aim. It's about as funny as it is scary; which makes for a nice blend considering the amount of mediocre to down-right crap that comes out of the horror genre these days. "Splinter" is a nice, fast-paced, and imaginative ride.

Two couples come across each-other in a twist of what I would call fate. One is an innocent, typical couple; one contains a criminal. They drive, together, to the nearest gas-station they can find. The same one that we saw in an opening prologue that involved a guy getting killed by an infected mammal; presumably a porcupine. The first thing that the characters notice is a corpse, which slowly- very slowly- starts to move its way toward them in a zombie-like trance and fashion.

They lock themselves inside the gas-station; reluctant to go outside in fear of being infected by this virus that has spread to the body outside. There it lies, for almost too long, alongside the girl-friend of the criminal. He is compelled to go out there and try to comfort his love, but little does he know, she is indeed laden with infectious zombie-quills and a certain thirst for blood.

I liked this movie because it doesn't take itself as seriously as it could have. If it had gone in that direction, I probably would have hated it, or at least forgotten it, but the film is impressively handled. For what it is, the film is directed with skill and well-acted; suffering only from a lack of explanation for one big- very big- question; how the hell did the porcupine get infected?

That question may never get answered. But it doesn't need to be. "Splinter" is not a masterpiece for its genre, but merely a fun time at the movies. That's all I needed from it. That's all I WANTED from it. And that's what I got; a whole lot of fun. For an independently made flick, the production design is good without being overly slick, and it comes to show that a lower budget may indeed accumulate to more creativity. This is a good thing. In fact, this is a wonderful thing; and real horror filmmakers all started out in this position. Director Toby Wilkins, who also wrote the film and created its monstrous virus, has a future ahead of him, but the road ahead is dimly lit, so I can't say it's a predetermined "good one". But I'll hope for the best.

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May 24, 2011
Yep. I liked this movie quite a bit. An entertaining horror movie that kept things simple and tight. I like those monster effects too!
More Splinter (2008 movie) reviews
review by . June 23, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Dvd cover
The concept of the unknown against a small group of folks isolated in a small area had been numerous times, most notably in films like "Night of the Living Dead", "Alien" and "The Thing". "The Mist"  followed this same formula with a much larger group of folks. It is a very basic and simple concept that relies more in execution--this premise will provide the feeling of claustrophobia, terror and helplessness. However, this concept if done incorrectly and poorly will end up in a laughable …
review by . November 02, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: interesting creature, it won awards, great cast participation     Cons: some jerky camera work but not bad     The Bottom Line: You'll never look at quills the same way again     The really frightening thing about Splinter is that they made absolutely no excuses for the appearance of the parasite in their movie. Usually we have a government gene splice trick happening or a chemical spill or even illegal dumping to blame on the formation …
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Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #3
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie


In this indie film sure to make audiences shriek, the horror is just beginning when a young couple is carjacked by an escaped inmate and his lover. But the criminal (Shea Whigham, WRISTCUTTERS: A LOVE STORY) isn't the most dangerous thing on the trip; a mysterious, parasitic creature stalks the two couples, and a small convenience store doesn't prove to be much of a haven from the menace. Toby Wilkins, who won awards for his short film "Staring at the Sun," makes his feature directorial debut with SPLINTER.
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Director: Toby Wilkins
Genre: Horror
Release Date: 2008
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: Paradox Entertainment (April 14, 2009)
Runtime: 1hr 22min
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