March 18, 2012

Filthy Review - Splintered

Splintered (2012)

Review by Jude Felton

I will admit that I knew little about co-writer/director Simeon Halligan’s debut feature length movie. I did know that is originally saw the light of day in 2010 in the UK, and as such was keen to watch it. The horror output from England has not only increased of late, but in general it has greatly improved as well. The fact that the movie hadn’t crossed my radar was a concern though, as usually I like to keep my finger on the pulse of what is happening in horror, especially from the UK.

The plot of Splintered concerns Sophie, who seems to be troubled with nightmares from her youth, and four friends who take a road trip out to the wooded badlands of Wales. They are on a mission to investigate strange animal mutilations and the disappearance of a couple of folk. Legend has is it that it could be the mythical Beast of Bodmin Moor, a half man, half beast, although Sophie seems be thinking along the lines of a Werewolf. Of course, she tells her friends that she believes it to be a fox. Right, that’ll do the trick.

As is usually the case, if you put a group in a remote area, sooner or later they are going to split up. Splintered is no exception in that department, and before long Sophie and another of the party, John, end up deep in the woods. From here on in you can throw in a mysterious priest, an abandoned orphanage and plenty of bickering between the so-called friends.

Splintered has, unfortunately, got many factors working against it. The cast is weak, with possibly one exception, and the script they have to work with really does nothing to help matter. Banal dialogue delivered with total disinterest from all involved conspires to make this hard going to say the least. There are too many random flashbacks/nightmares; it’s as if Halligan is trying to remind us that these will indeed mean something further down the road. It might have helped if the script didn’t require the cast to do dumb things right at the very moment a smart idea might have benefitted them.

Due to the unlikeable characters there is really no chance of us forming any emotional attachment to any of them, so we really don’t care what happens to them.

On the plus side of things, the movie does actually look good with decent production values and some good locations; the orphanage itself being mighty impressive. Also, the latter 20 minutes or so of the movie are quite nicely done, with all the loose ends being tied up. Even then though I found myself asking more questions of the film, with lazy plotting and seemingly disappearing characters. I will also ask this question. If an ambulance turns up to help the potentially injured, why would it park 200 yards down the road, when it is quite obviously that one of the injured is walking towards you covered in blood? What were they thinking? “Oh fuck it, they made it this far, let them walk the rest of the way”?

As you might have guessed, I not only did not think that Splintered was very good, because it isn’t, but also I found it incredibly frustrating. Simeon Halligan quite obviously has a good eye for capturing a visually appealing movie; he now just needs a stronger script in which to work with.

Splintered is release on March 20th on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and DVD from Well Go USA

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