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Splinter (2008)

A young couple, Seth Belzer and Polly Watt (played by Paulo Constanzo and Jill Wagner respectively) are celebrating their anniversary by going on a camping trip - to have cuddly sex underneath the stars. However, things don't turn out as they were supposed to - they get car-jacked by ex-convict Dennis Farell (a great performance from Shea Wigham) and his reluctant girlfriend Lacey (played by Rachel Kerbs) aka "Firecracker", who is on withdrawal from her drug addiction.

Whilst driving on, they manage to run over a small animal... which, interestingly, manages to kill one of the car's tyres. The dead creature has splinters growing out of its body, which explains why it devastated the car that much. Dennis, whilst helping to change the broken tyre, gets stabbed by one of the splinters, which are stuck in the object. He dismisses it, and the four people carry on driving. Which would be fine... if it wasn't for the broken radiator of the car (courtesy of small splintery animal on the road). When they arrive at a gas station, which is abandoned, the real terror starts.

Man. I don't know what to say. Oh, no, wait. I do know what to say.

I've read numerous reviews about why Alien was such a great and suspenseful movie. As I am a child of the eighties and never really got around watching Alien before I knew how the creatures looked like, I never was afraid of the movie (when I finally watched it, that is). And I think that Splinter has the potential to be something akin to Alien when it comes to the terror and jump-scares the monster/creature can inspire in the hapless audience watching this film.

Seriously... I wasn't expecting much. First of all, monster/creature flicks aren't exactly what I'd term my favourite sub-genre of horror. More often than not, they are completely disappointing and ridiculous (I apologise to all the fans of monster horror flicks out there... we just have to agree on disagreeing with each other). But Splinter... wow. I was literally on the edge of my seat for most of the movie's playing time.

The acting is not bad - although there are some instances of the characters not exactly behaving realistically (mostly in the first 20 minutes of the film), the acting and interacting between the characters was fluent, believable and realistic. The only point I'd have to criticise in regards to the acting would be the character of drug-addicted Lacey (Rachel Kerbs) - she was just way over the top to be taken seriously as a real character. Withdrawal or not, it was just... well. Overacting. But that problem solved itself nicely.

And the creature... oh my god. We never get to see it fully, but trust me when I tell you that it's one magnificent, garbled, distorted monstrosity. I mean... wow. The way its parts are moving... awesome. Just awesome. More than awesome, even.

A solid movie with a good script, good acting, an awesome antagonist (or should I make that plural?) and a really good idea when it comes to creating terror in the audience. I was hooked from the very first minute on. Everything just... fits. Perfectly so.

It's a rare movie that can keep me entirely focused and at times creeped out. Splinter managed to do all of that, and more. Recommended - definitely recommended!

9/10 freakishly rearranging limbs, hungry for blood.

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