Of course, as my good friend and lover IMDB tells me that is not Dustin Diamond--but my difficult and steadily maturing brain suggests otherwise. So for the purpose of my sanity and this review, I will be referring to that guy as Dustin Diamond or if I'm feeling especially sassy, Screech Powers.
There was a brief moment in time when I confused the movie Splinter with Bug. In fact I thought that the premise of Bug and Splinter were the same. Boy was I wrong! Splinter involves one of my least favorite concepts of horror--parasitic invaders that spread and develop like zombie rabies. It also takes place in one main setting throughout its duration. Naturally because I have late onset ADD, I detest such things. By all accounts I should have therefore hated Splinter but I didn't---not really.
In Splinter, a parasitic/mold thing that resembles splinters has found its way into a carrier. When an outlawed crook and his druggie girlfriend kidnap a couple, they end up at a gas station and have a run in with the splinter beast (now resting cozily inside a human). After druggie girlfriend gets killed by the beast and reincarnated into a splinter beast as well, the three remaining characters are trapped inside the gas station with no way to contact the outside world.
While I wouldn't say I hated Splinter, I wouldn't say I was outrageously pleased by it either. I suppose I simply regarded it as a passable movie and certainly one that is effective for its smaller budget. The splinter beasts are gruesome and at times horrific--I think so anyways but it's hard to say because for the most part our glimpses were hindered by some very frantic camera work. I think I may have seen some awesomely gross ribs poking out and some crazy double jointed things happening at the end for instance--but we can't be sure. Whether all this frantic camera business was a means to cover up some less than stellar CGI work or because they intended for the gruesome beasts full look to be mysterious we will never know. Although something tells me its the former.
I say this because during a few moments of some splinter hands and arms running rampant, the CGI was not very pleasing. In fact, the splinters themselves seemed overly cartoonish at parts and that kind of bummed me out. It's not that I take great pride in bringing down a lower budget film based on special effects that it couldn't shell out all the money in the world for--I'm just saying that I think Splinter would have benefited quite nicely by a few close up, and longer (key word longer) shots of the splinter creatures. I feel like it would have brought some well needed and enjoyed scares.
Scares and suspense is perhaps what I felt I most lacked when watching this. I didn't get a real sense of worry or anxiety. I didn't particularly like any of the characters much, and the entire situation seemed very annoying at times. Like how there were no keys in the sheriff's car, and yet the headlights remained on. Or how the bad guy smashed the telephone. OR how for whatever reason a gas station in the middle of nowhere saw it fit to outfit the backdoor with a chain gate locked with a padlock (in addition to a door lock). It just felt like a lot of unnecessarily unlucky things happening and that bugs me. Just like in The Net--EVERYTHING goes wrong!
I will say the arm amputation scene was pretty remarkable. And let me also say here that I hope I never get myself into a situation where someone has to cut my arm off with an Exacto knife and then lop through the bone with a concrete block.
One other thing I appreciated quite a bit, was the stupidity of the boyfriend rather than the girlfriend. Here the tables are turned as the girlfriend seems to be the more fearless and even the more manly of the two. She for instance changes the tire of her car while Screech mumbles something about it not being his car. He of course tries to prove himself later on my intentionally giving himself hypothermia but then he gets all gimpy and it's really a lost cause. Still though, there's that fun thing happening where a less than attractive and nerdy guy (sorry Screech...it's the Jew fro I think) gets set up with an extremely hot girl. Just once I'd like to see a not overly attractive girl with some hot guy...okay?!
At any rate, Splinter is OK in my book. It's an interesting idea that feels like it shouldn't be original and yet it does end up being so in the end. It's not riddled with tons of cliches, there aren't jump scares every 5 seconds and the end is somehow heartbreaking despite what Jimney Cricket tells us in our heads. I guess it's true what they say after all. If you're trapped in a gas station with the man that kidnapped you--you become friends and boy, that's real nice.