By Sam Boykin
A recipient of five awards at the, er, prestigious 2009 Screamfest horror film festival, Splinter serves up all the schlock, blood, laughs and serious lapses in logic that lovers of cheesy horror films hold so dear.
Jill Wagner, a North Carolina State University graduate perhaps best known as the “Mercury Chick" from the Lincoln-Mercury car commercials, plays Polly Watt, a take-charge beauty on a camping trip with her nerdy boyfriend. While on the road, the young lovebirds are carjacked by a couple of drug-addled criminals on the run from the law. When their car breaks down, they end up at an isolated gas station where they soon find themselves battling it out with nasty needle-like parasites that take over people’s bodies.
What are these deadly splinters? Where did they come from? And why are they out to make walking pincushions out of humans? Who knows? The film never addresses any of this, and there’s little
chemistry between the actors. But Splinter does serve up plenty of gore and an original monster, thanks in part to director Toby Wilkins, who’s spent most of his career as a visual effects artist. (His next directorial feature, The Grudge 3, debuts on DVD this Tuesday, May 12.) And there’s even a scene involving a guy getting his arm sliced off with a box cutter. What more could you ask for?