Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Splinter

“You are suffering from a severe case of CDS: Can’t Do Shit!”

Jarv’s Rating: 2 1/2 Changs. Not bad at all.

This may not exactly come as a shock to anyone, but I fucking hate camping. Seriously, I can’t for the life of me imagine anything more miserable than the unmitigated horror of having to put up a fucking tent and then attempt to sleep in it. Even the shittiest hotel (and I’ve stayed in some shockers in America) is better than camping- simply because you don’t have to build the fucking room yourself. So therefore, I’ve got a pretty limited patience in movies when people go camping and bad shit happens to them: “Oh So you’ve been fucked by a mutant triceratops that’s just eaten your husbands head? Don’t care. It serves you right for going camping.”

In Splinter- which isn’t torture porn despite what that picture looks like- we follow the misadventures of Seth and Polly, who decided to go camping for their anniversary. Why? Why would you do this? Anniversaries are meant to involve the following things- for the man: Beer, Steak, possible blow job; for the woman: Flowers, expensive things, fancy dinner (ideally out, but if the man can cook then at home), back rub. They are not meant to involve traipsing out into the wilderness like a cretinous cunt wanting to forsake civilisation and then sleeping on the fucking ground. Seth, to his immense credit, doesn’t seem to be that into the whole wilderness idea, so is ecstatic to break the tent and force them to go to a motel. They get ambushed by a killer on the run and his junky girlfriend, before holing up in a petrol station while  being terrorised by a pretty gross monster.

This is a completely unoriginal creature feature. There’s no 2 ways about it- it borrows heavily from The Thing for one, Evil Dead memorably, and the people trapped in remote location trying to survive theme isn’t exactly original either. So to judge how good this film is, it’s got to be judged on how effective it is. And this is a pretty effective little film. It’s gory and exciting, with the finale in particular working well.

It’s honestly all good fun- the special effects in particular are excellent, there’s a few decent shocks to be had and I find it very hard indeed to be rude about a little film like this. It’s cheap, sure, but it’s effective. It’s also ambitious- with the monster design in particular clearly having eaten up all the budget. Nevertheless, I feel it incumbent upon me to be rude about it.

Firstly, the casting sucks. Paul Costanzo is cast as Seth. The last place I saw him was in that execrable pile of dog poo, Joey, playing a geek. Before that I saw him in Road Trip, playing a geek. Here and I know this may come as a massive shock: he’s playing a geek. Christ on a moped, how unimaginative. He’s competent enough playing a geek- although he really fucking should be by now. It’s not a great performance, but it doesn’t suck at Satan’s unholy bung-hole either. His girlfriend is played by that bird from Blade the Series, Jill Wagner. She’s not in damsel in distress mode, but I’m kind of cross with the makers of this for not finding an excuse to get her top off. The monster is a blood based parasite- ergo, some blood spilt on the top and off it comes. Not to mention that they’re hiding out in the fridge at one point- this should be an opportunity for some Showgirls style frozen nipple action as well. Shea Whigham completes the trio as the killer on the run, and he’s servicable as well. You can’t really criticise this film in terms of acting. It’s competent, but little more.

However, you can (and I’m going to) criticise the film for writing. The script to this fucking stinks. Conti mentioned the other day on the Alien 3 review that one of the reasons he dislikes the film is that you can almost see the film-makers pushing the characters into place. Well, I’d recommend that he avoids this film. To begin with, the geek happens to be a post-grad Biologist. Handy in a situation with a new lifeform. Not to mention that the evil convict isn’t actually evil and he’s trying to give all his money to the widow of the guy he killed. We know this, because the film stops in the last third so they can tell us. I hate this shit- HE’S A CONVICT ON THE RUN, FUCKO’S, MAKE HIM SYMPATHETIC AND HEROIC THROUGH HIS ACTIONS. Also, the characters have the stupidity dial turned up to 11- “I know what will be a fucking good plan: we’re hiding in a petrol station, so lets start a fucking big fire”.

Having said that, the real draw of this film is the monster itself. It’s superb. It’s a big, ugly, hungry, spiky, mutant cocksucker of a monster. They clearly put a lot of thought into it’s design- both how it functions and what it looks like. They also clearly have seen lots of other cracking monster films and reference them all in this. There’s a nod to Leviathan in the way it consumes its victims, a nod to the Thing with the way it can detach and split up, but most brilliantly an extended homage to the Evil Dead with an evil hand terrorising the characters.

I really like this monster, and 2 of the 2 and a half changs  are for it. I don’t however, like the way it takes over people- I must be getting squeamish in my old age, but watching people’s fingers spontaneously break and rearrange themselves is just a bit much for me.

Overall, would I recommend this film? Yes, definitely. It isn’t a fraction as good as the films it borrows from (but what is? they’re classics of the genre.) Although the beginning may be a bit slow, and they may deserve to die for going camping- this film has a fucking great monster in it, and we don’t get enough of them nowadays.

Until next time,

Jarv

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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

44 responses to “Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Splinter”

  1. Jarv says :

    This is by way of preamble to Frank’s The Thing review- seeing as it borrows heavily from The Thing.

  2. Jarv says :

    Shit. So it is.

    *off to edit*

  3. Jarv says :

    Whoops.

    Anyhow- it’s a top notch monster- so I would recommend watching it. Severe disappointment in the lack of boobage though. Unforgivable.

  4. xiphos0311 says :

    traipsing out into the wilderness like a cretinous cunt wanting to forsake civilisation and then sleeping on the fucking ground

    Sounds great sign me up because I’m just that sort of cunt.

  5. xiphos0311 says :

    Jarv in one the pictures above you have Costanzo holding what looks to a Mossberg 500 shotgun with a pistol grip, did the douche fire it then drop it from the searing pain in his wrist?

    • Jarv says :

      Hahahahaha!

      Didn’t know that. He fires it about 8 times as well.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Shotguns with pistol grips hurt like a mother fucker to fire, all the recoil goes directly into your wrist and hand. It might look “cool”(I don’t think so). Your hand goes numb after like three rounds. Not a useful thing to have happen in a bad situation.

        Also its a bitch to work the pump with a pistol grip. It’s an entirely useless configuration for that weapon.

      • Jarv says :

        In this case, his hand’s already numb because they had to drop his body temperature so the thing couldn’t see him. So I don’t think that would be much of a problem.

        I thought that was a legitimate weapon- he gets it out of a cops car

      • xiphos0311 says :

        It’s a real configuration, usually dickheads that want a ” tactical look” set it up that way. Anybody who relies on a weapon as part of your job description, like say a cop, wouldn’t go within a hundred feet of a pistol grip shotgun, unless your a dickhead that is.

      • Jarv says :

        So, aside from looking “cool” (like when dickheads hold a pistol horizontally) is there any reason at all to use it?

      • xiphos0311 says :

        So, aside from looking “cool” (like when dickheads hold a pistol horizontally) is there any reason at all to use it?

        with a pistol grip? no not really. At least with a stock you can control the recoil and hit your target, especially if your firing slugs. Also you can work the pump a lot more smoothly which is important if somebody is slinging lead in your direction.

        With a pistol grip all you will end up doing is fucking your hand up(I know I did like a complete asshole) and if you’re in a fire fight get killed trying to get another round into the chamber while fighting the slide.

        Oh man don’t even get me started on holding a handgun that way I will rant for hours.

      • Jarv says :

        Actually, they’ve got a narrative reason for it in this film.

        Spoiler-

        The convict has to cut his own arm off- in the final showdown, he’s only got 1 arm and needs to fire the shotgun at a load of propane tanks to kill the monster.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Really? It would be easier to use stocked shotgun, it would have better balance and would be easier to hold on to. I get it though it looks cool on film.

      • Jarv says :

        He’s lying down on the floor and doesn’t have to be that accurate- so it doesn’t matter. He wouldn’t be able to fire a proper shotgun with one arm from the floor.

        He’s a bit fucked up by this stage.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        He wouldn’t be able to fire a proper shotgun with one arm from the floor.

        why not?

      • Jarv says :

        Because he’s lying on his back and he has to hold it up away from his body to hit the propane canister.

        It’s a flimsy justification, however, because there was no real need to knock him on his ass anyway.

      • Jarv says :

        As in- they could easily have put the propane somewhere else.

  6. Droid says :

    Another boob-centric review? We really have regressed to 14 year old boys. Oh well, this doesn’t really sound like my cup of tea, seeing as it’s a low budget gory horror with a distinct lack of boob.

    The geek was also in 40 days 40 nights as someone who I think wasn’t meant to be a geek, but I assumed he was because he quite clearly looks like one. That poor bastard is destined to play the geek role forever.

    • Jarv says :

      This isn’t boob-centric, more I-hate-camping-centric. I only mentioned boobs briefly because Wagner usually gets them out for fun. She even got them out in Blade the Series.

      I haven’t done this justice, really, it is quite a good little film.

      Costanzo is doomed to play the geek forever, but I think he deserves it for Joey. Which is so awful and unfunny that it makes angels cry

  7. Continentalop says :

    Hey Xi, you ever see Straight Time with Dustin Hoffman? It is based on an Edmund Bunker novel, No Beast So Fierce, and it is about SoCal criminals. Probably the best book on the subject, and a damn good movie about LA criminals (especially in the 70s).
    Any how, they have a pistol grip shotgun in it, but they have a damn good explanation – the crooks need to conceal it for armed robbery so they can hide it under their suit coats when they go in. I

    • xiphos0311 says :

      I understand about making it easily to conceal nothing intimidates like a shotgun but a hand gun is even easier to conceal.

      My point was it hurts like hell fire a shotgun with a pistol grip and being a dumb asss Ive done it.

      • Continentalop says :

        Has that ever been shown in a movie? Someone using a pistol grip shotgun and it fucks up his wrist? Because that would be one of those little details that would be cool in a movie.

        As for the concealed shotgun, they needed it to cover a big room. QT stole the line about “Should have shotguns” from Edmund Bunker (who you should read Xi – guy served hard time in San Quentin for armed robbery, and Danny Trejo and his uncle used to buy robberies from him).

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Has that ever been shown in a movie? Someone using a pistol grip shotgun and it fucks up his wrist?

        I can’t think of any but I would bet probably not, it would be funny to see. Get some big dummy to wave a pistol grip shot gun around, crank off a round and drop the weapon howling in pain.

        I’ll put Bunker on the list thank you.

  8. Continentalop says :

    Excuse all grammar errors…I haven’t slept in about 36+ hours.

  9. Continentalop says :

    Showing an escaped convict as a hero….you know, for all the movies these guys seemed to have seen Jarv, I guess they missed Assault on Precinct 13. If they had seen that, they would have known how to make a criminal sympathetic and heroic without resorting to cheap gimmicks and exposition.

    • Jarv says :

      Exactly- that’s what annoyed me so much. I thought about mentioning Assault, but it’s so easy and they fucked it up so much.

  10. koutchboom says :

    This stars the chick who host Whipeout, if you didn’t know.

  11. koutchboom says :

    I’ve said it before about this film. But I like the fact that the gas station actually featured Local Beer, and you could see it.

    I hate it in movies when they just have some random beer and you can never see really what it is. Thats gotta be done on purpose.

    • Jarv says :

      That is cool.

      And I didn’t know Wagner hosted Wipeout in the US. That’s lame.

      • koutchboom says :

        Whats wrong with Wipeout? I love that fucking show. I don’t know how you can’t laugh at people falling.

        Plus I would love to get on it, just to run the course.

      • M. Blitz says :

        I prefer Women of Ninja Warrior.

      • koutchboom says :

        See Ninja Warrior bores me. Maybe its just because like the first episodes are ALWAYS the fucking same. It just isn’t as fun. Though i would like to run that course as well.

        I mean the later episodes when the course is hard as shit is fun.

      • M. Blitz says :

        I don’t watch the one with the dudes. But the one with the gals I find fascinating. And yeah, I want to run the course as well. Who wouldn’t?

      • Jarv says :

        I meant it’s lame to be a bit of dollybird fluff if you have been in higher profile stuff.

      • Jarv says :

        English Ninja Warrior is hilarious, because Stuart Hall commentates and he seems to have a homosexual crush on one of the competitors,

        But I got bored of it, because I reckon it isn’t possible any more.

  12. koutchboom says :

    Also whats with you Brits and your fasination with this state? The last two movies made here, done by British Blokes.

    The other is The Killer Inside Me. The (500) Days of Summer guy was going to come here, but I think he’s got a much bigger gig now.

  13. MORBIUS says :

    Whenever I see the’ Splinter’ title I’m reminded of Zombi 2 where a woman is being pulled by her hair towards a splinter of wood and it punctures her eye…

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