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With a badly written screenplay and filmmaking with some clichéd elements, Splintered (2010) is a thriller where things just seem to slide downhill, and while not a complete disaster, this is a movie that features very little intelligent behavior. Some spoilers follow.
The film opens with Sophie, a little girl being traumatized by something unknown, and then jumps forward to the present, where someplace in north Wales, a grown Sophie (Holly Weston) and four other college-age students are in the woods looking to do some camping. Also along are Sophie's friend Jane (Sadie Pickering), Jane's boyfriend Sam (Sacha Dhawn), Jane's brother Dean (Jonathan Readwin), and John (Sol Heras).
Sophie is interested getting some evidence about a mysterious beast that has been attacking farm animals. After making camp, the group is settling in for the night, when Sophie sees something in the woods, and goes off with John to investigate. They eventually find St. Joseph's, a huge estate in the middle of the woods. They enter the abandoned facility, and find signs of a slaughtered lamb. Something comes out of the dark, and Sophie knocks herself unconscious running away. She wakes up locked in a room, being held prisoner by a strange dwarfish man named Gavin (Stephen Walters).
Sophie makes several attempts to escape, and although she does some intelligent things, she somehow manages to mess up. Sophie's friends, also stumble across St. Josephs, which is actually an abandoned church. John encounters a priest named Father Thomas (Colin Tierney), and they also arrive at the church, for the dramatic climax.
Given how silly and annoying she is, it's rather difficult to get behind Sophie, who makes noises or screaming at just the wrong time, and isn't much help when others are in danger. Truthfully, the sloppy writing doesn't put any of the actors in a very good light, although Stephen Walters puts a lot of energy into his performance.
The story has a clichéd religious aspect, with Father Thomas conveniently showing up, intending to commit murder. Another familiar ploy, is featuring an actor in a dual role. There are also flashbacks and dream sequences, which serve mostly to confuse and mislead, as Splintered never intends to present a clear story. The point is simply to place the characters in peril, and then kill them off, with suspense taking precedence over rational behavior.
Spooky St. Joseph's makes a great location, although it could have been utilized better. A nighttime rooftop chase scene falls short in the execution, but at least it's an attempt at something visually striking. The film does have a few decent ideas, but they are forced together into a story that doesn't make much sense. A twist at the end isn't exactly a surprise, although the ferocity of the violence might be. Splintered is a muddled mess that is hard to recommend to anyone, except hardcore gore fans, as the filmmakers don't give the audience much credit for intelligence.
Shot using a Red camera, the Bluray seems to offer a slight improvement in image quality over the DVD. Both formats each have the same extras, a making of featurette, and deleted scenes with an alternate ending that isn't an improvement. The deleted scenes indicate how much story and character development was sacrificed, to produce a story that was more raw and ambiguous. Rating: 2.5 stars.