Judge Josh Rode wonders why brand new cars always turn out to be so hard to start in horror films.
Here's an idea for a weekend trip: Monster hunting! What could possibly go wrong?
Adding to the growing list of "DVDs that lie about themselves on the back cover," Splintered says it's about a "search for a local legend—a wild beast: half animal and half man…" None of this is true, which is too bad. That concept would have been a far more interesting film.
Facts of the Case
People are mysteriously dying around an abandoned orphanage, so Sophie packs up her friends and goes looking for the cause, armed only with a camera. It doesn't take long for her group to start dying, but Sophie can't do anything to help; she's been captured and locked in a room by a demented man.
Splintered is a bit of a mixed bag. Director Simeon Halligan does a good job of building tension and keeping it going for most the film; an impressive feat, given a plot that's far from original. Nothing that happens will come as a shock to anyone the least bit familiar with the horror genre. The story's big twist isn't overtly telegraphed, but happens a bit too early and lessens the surprise.
The characters are a tad one-dimensional, which is probably a good thing; no one in the cast has to stretch too much to make their performances believable. Sol Harris (Rock Rivals) seems to have the most depth as the laid back John, which is unfortunate since he doesn't even survive the first night. Sadie Pickering's (Popatron) Jane, on the other hand, is so timid her presence is barely felt until the end. Sacha Dhawan's (Outsourced) Sam is pure hormone, and Dean (Jonathan Readwin, Rock & Chips) is a geek in love with Sophie (Holly Weston, John Carter). The role of Sophie is key, since she is the catalyst for everything that happens. Weston does frightened well and shell-shocked better, though she's not up to the challenge of full-on bravado.
Splintered's Achilles' heel is a series of inherently unbelievable fallacies. Our heroes travel unarmed to the middle of nowhere to find something that's capable of killing humans? Really?! And why not follow a blood trail made by something quite large in the middle of the night? Finally, we have the killer's ridiculous method of inflicting death upon his victims and the unconvincing backstory that explains it all.
Presented in 2.35:1/1080p AVC-encoded high definition, the transfer sports visible grain during dark scenes (which is half the film), shallow black levels, and balanced but limited colors. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio is wasted, almost all the sound found in the center channel. Extras include a collection of behind-the-scenes featurettes which are interesting to a point, then it begins to repeat itself. We also get a handful of deleted scenes, including an alternate ending that was wisely left out, a few trailers, and a standard definition DVD copy.
Splintered delivers 85 minutes of tension, but requires us to go above-and-beyond the call of duty to suspend our disbelief.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Well Go USA
• Deleted Scenes
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