Tuesday, 14 April 2009
Kicking against the pricks
Toby Wilkins knows a thing or two about visual effects, having been in the business for the last ten years, and his first feature film as director bears this out. You can see the proof there on the cover of Splinter: he’s created “the year’s best beast”, according to LA Weekly. And, you know, I’m not going to argue. Splinter’s figure-skating fusion of amalgamated body parts is downright horrific and perfectly realized (I know because I watched the special feature on the DVD and they way they brought it to life really is clever).
Wilkins himself is British, which may explain why we got Splinter on DVD a few weeks ago, while it’s only out in the US today. As a low-budget monster movie, it’s pretty fantastic. The creature’s great, the story works, there’s loads of gore, and the characters’ actions are fairly reasonable. In fact, if there is a flaw, it’s that there aren’t enough characters. We’re more used to seeing superfluous extras picked off left, right and centre, whereas the action here centres almost entirely around three people trapped inside a gas station convenience store. But don’t be put off by the location – there’s plenty of exciting stuff going on (none of which involves beef jerky or porn mags) and when characters meet their ends, they do so in spectacularly nasty fashion.
That’s the US DVD on the left above, with the UK release to the right... One-nil to us Britishers, I say. Give Splinter a go.