Toby Wilkins’ Splinter was a very well done film. The plot line, character development and visuals all helped to make this movie great. Wilkins co-wrote the script as well as directed the film. He’s directed a number of films, most recently The Grudge 3.
The movie opens with a lonely gas station clerk getting attacked by a creature of sorts. All the viewer gets to see are quick glimpses of a dog-like animal with large black splinters all over. The suspense and intrigue are great at this point because of how little the viewer actually gets to see. Then the movie moves to criminals Lacey and Dennis, whose truck breaks down. At the same time couple Polly and Seth are celebrating their anniversary by camping in the woods. Their tents breaks so they decide to go to a motel. While on the road they are stopped by Lacey and Dennis and become hostages. The movie begins to get much stranger at this point.
They run over something on the road, and it turns out to be the splinter creature. They stop at a gas station, where Lacey runs into the original gas station clerk. The splinters have taken over his body and feed off of him. He infects Lacey and the three remaining characters are left inside the store fending for their lives.
It’s an interesting dynamic between Seth, Polly and Dennis. Dennis is a jerk at the beginning because of being a criminal but we eventually find out his acts are out of kindness — stealing so he can provide for others. By the end of the movie the viewer has sympathy for Dennis. The characters actually begin to work together as a team to survive and cease to be hostages. I really liked how the film depended on character interaction as the main drive. There were only three main characters so it forced the movie to focus on their relationships instead of relying on action.
The imagery in this film was great. The way the splinter parasite takes over the body was so neat to watch. It really made my skin crawl. The production value was great.
The cast was also great — Shea Whigham, who plays Dennis, has been in a slew of movies, such as Lords of Dogtown and Wristcutters: A Love Story. The geeky Paulo Costanzo plays Seth. He’s recognizable from the T.V. show “Joey” and movies like 40 Days and 40 Nights and Road Trip. The two female actresses Rachel Kerbs and Jill Wagner are lessen known.