When a young couple Polly (Jill Wagner) and Seth (Paulo Costanzo) head out into the wilderness for a romantic camping weekend, their idyllic getaway is ruined when they are car jacked and taken hostage by convict Dennis (Shea Whigham) and his junky girlfriend Lacey (Rachel Kerbs). On the run from the law the foursome travel the rural back roads of Oklahoma. The couple find themselves in even deeper parasitic trouble when the group get trapped in an isolated gas station by a blood-crazed, voracious, bug, Splinter. The parasite creature absorbs and transforms its dead host into a living parasitic, deadly nightmare. With the couple and the escaped convict in the sights of the creature, the group now have to work together using their wits and any weapon they can fashion to survive this terror.
Directed by Toby Wilkins, Splinter is certainly a creepy-crawlie-slimy horror film. As we watch the panic-stricken folks shelter in at the abandoned gas station with no phone or any form of rescue, the real question comes to play how can they fend off the parasitic creature when they can’t even trust each other? Remember the couple would have never been in this mess if it wasn't for being hijacked by the convict. Nevertheless differences are put aside when an insatiable monster is on the loose. Like in most survival horrors rather than figuring out how to kill it, they would rather work together to escape and outwit the parasite. However after a gruesome scene that involves an unaware state trooper who is mangled and ripped in half by the creature, the group discover that escape wasn't going to be easy.
Apart from being a competent indie horror flick, Splinter certainly does have enough gore to satisfy the genre fans. The fast-paced editing, shaky camera framing and jarring effects are a brilliant touch to create a suspenseful atmospheric ambiance. Very similar to another indie horror, Brad Anderson’s Vanishing on 7th Street (2010), you don't actually need to see the figure to get frighten. That leaving it to the viewer’s imagination has far more profound effect.
Being labelled as an indie B movie horror, Splinter should certainly be praised for its suspenseful narrative, a well groomed and acting cast and most importantly its minuscule budget is never seen or felt throughout the film. Director Toby Wilkins does a great job with the tools and budget that he had and managed to assemble a great cast. I do love my gore and horror but there is a thing of too much blood and guts. Splinter never crossed the line as an explicit gory horror like the Saw franchise or Hostel trilogy. Splinter shied away from the gore and kept in the realm of horror and thriller that closely resembles John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982).