Splintered Blu-ray Review
Directed by Simeon Halligan
Written by Simeon Halligan, Stephen Trimingham, and Mat Archer
2010, Region A (NTSC), 85 minutes, Not Rated
Blu-ray released on March 20th, 2012
Stephen Martin Walters as Gavin / Vincent
Holly Weston as Sophie
Sacha Dhawan as Sam
Sadie Pickering as Jane
Jonathan Readwin as Dean
Sol Heras as John
Colin Tierney as Father Thomas
Poor Sophie. Not only is she plagued by the horrible nightmares of being bound and molested by a werewolf, she also has the misfortune of meeting up with a duo of feral brothers who live in a long-abandoned orphanage where they were subjected to unfathomable torment and mental anguish. I guess that is what you get for gathering up your annoyingly clichéd friends to go search the deep woods for a creature that is suspected of terrorizing the countryside of late.
Just like Sophie, if I were to set out to debunk the existence of a vicious supernatural beast, I’d bring about all of the necessary tools to capture and/or defend myself from a hulking werewolf with a bloodlust for humans. Beer – check! Cell phones with lousy reception – check! Sullen emo attitude – check! And of course, a video camera. Fuck machetes! To hell with guns! Forget rope! Nets? We don’t need no stinkin’ nets! All I require are my stereotype-laden friends; the nice guy, the douchebag, the bubbleheaded BFF, the BFFs useless little brother, a slight buzz, a mouthful of sass, and a penchant for running into trouble. What could possibly go wrong?
The major problem in Splintered is that it’s impossible to root for any of the protagonists due to their insipid natures and lack of intriguing backstory. If you don’t want to see anyone survive the ordeal and are actively rooting for the villain, how can you elicit any type of suspense? The antagonists, on the other hand, come across as third-rate Gollum clones from The Lord of the Rings, and often appear more annoying than menacing. Ohhh, we’ve been mentally tortured by priests my precious! Yeah? So? Who hasn’t been? The ending, in both the reveal behind Sophie’s werewolf nightmares and the events leading up to the motivation of the batshit crazy brothers, comes across as clumsy and unnecessarily heavy-handed, lacking any real emotional punch.
Splintered is very nice to look at. The majority of the action takes place either in a creepy moonlit forest, or an even creepier abandoned institution full of decrepit furniture and crumbling architecture. The darkness and gloom ooze from every corridor, and the locales become as much of a supporting character as the generic teen-set that interact within them. Thankfully, despite the presence of a video camera, we are spared the obligatory hours of horrible Blair Witchian-inspired shakey cam footage that make you want to upchuck your SpaghettiOs. The acting is above average across the board, although I’m not sure if that’s due to the British accents making everything seem way more sincere than they actually are, or if it’s indeed related to any inherent talent from the cast.
Splintered isn’t a bad movie, it’s just an overly flawed and instantly forgettable piece of stylistic fluff. The mysteries it proposes aren’t necessarily ingenious or attention grabbing, the reveals are pedestrian, and the overall concept is as tenuous as a Priest’s zipper in the Church basement.
Video and Audio:
The 2.53:1 1080p video is above average, with nice deep black levels. This is obviously important since most of the film occurs in the shadows, at night.
The DTS-HD 5.1 audio track does offer up just enough ambient noise to be noticeable, although I would have liked a bit more drama emanating from the surrounds. The dialogue track is crisp and clear and never muddled or lost in the mix.
Splintered offers up some decent extras in the form of nine deleted scenes (including two alternate endings), a 40 minute behind-the-scenes featurette, two teasers and one theatrical trailer. While deleted scenes and alternate endings are among the coolest of special features offered, when a movie has this many scenes that didn’t pass the grade, you can’t help but to wonder if there really was a succinct vision for this film. A bounty of unused scenes coupled with lingering flaws in the final cut are the potential warning signs of a shakey script.
*Note: The screenshots on this page are not a reflection of the Blu-ray image. They were captured using the standard DVD.*