Today: April 16, 2024

Splintered

WARNING!
MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!

Sometimes
there’s nothing more enjoyable than a bad movie.

Sometimes
it just doesn’t matter that the screenwriter couldn’t write the F-word on a
dusty Venetian blind, that the actors couldn’t act the goat, the director
couldn’t direct traffic or that the cinematographer couldn’t expose himself let
alone film, some films are just touched by fate, the cosmos or your dear and
fluffy Lord to rise far above their limitations, slap you around the chops and
entertain you whether you like it or not.

Sometimes
they’ll star people you kinda, sorta recognise, people like Bruce Campbell or Tim Thomerson
or Gary Busey, people who had their shot at the big time and missed. Often
they’ll feature people who, regardless of their acting abilities, spend a lot
of time undraped
(Misty Mundae and Cerina Vincent, God bless ya both!). And sometimes they’ll
feature people who are, well, just a bit too mental to be anywhere else (Klaus Kinski, Udo Kier, Dieter
Laser
). They’ll be produced by Roger Corman and unashamedly directed by Charles Band and what
they lack in
execution they’ll more than make up for in ideas. Sometimes a bad movie can be a
joy
.

Splintered is not one of those films. Splintered is just plain baaaaaaad. Splintered is the type of bad movie that’s so bad, it makes you want to poke
out your own eyeball and bat it around your head like a Swingball
in a forlorn attempt to distract
yourself from just how bad the film is. Splintered is (sharp intake of breath) Sex and
the City 2
bad.

With
unexplained ‘animal’ attacks plaguing the Welsh countryside, damaged teenager Sophie (Holly Weston)
persuades her Scooby Doo gang of centrally-cast, disposable friends to venture into the woods with her
in search of the mythical beast the tabloids say is to blame. But when they’re savagely
attacked
, Sophie
wakes up, imprisoned, in a crumbling, abandoned orphanage tended by twitchy loon Gavin (Stephen Walters) who may be
all that stands between Sophie and the beast. Can her disposable friends and pistol-packing priest (?) Father Thomas (Colin Tierney) save
Sophie before she ends up as dinner? Will you care?

Possibly Britain’s
first carbon-neutral horror film
– it recycles the plots of at least half a dozen other
horror films – it’s hard to identify just where Splintered went wrong. There’s so much choice.
Shot like a particularly grimy episode of Doctor Who, Splintered rolls out the old cliched and over-familiar ‘pretty
teens in peril in the woods’ plot
one more time and kicks the crap out of it. Writer/director
Simeon Halligan seems particularly fond of that hoary old plot device of putting a
character in peril only for them to wake with a start and find ‘it was all a
dream’
and for a
movie where a bunch of attractive teens are murdered in the woods it’s all a
bit coy and sexless (c’mon Simeon that’s half the fun
of these kinda films). Apart, that is, from one slightly queasy scene, which I’m sure I saw in a
Sherilyn Fenn film 15 years ago, where the heroine gets stripped and sexually assaulted by a werewolf. But, whew, she wakes
up and it was all a dream! At least Sherilyn actually boffed the werewolf in Phantoms.

The cast
are, for the most part, uniformly bad, turning in performances pitched at that
hallowed middle ground somewhere between Thunderbirds puppet and Hollyoaks
mannequin. Sullenly attractive
Holly Weston is fine as the sullenly attractive heroine but she’s called upon to do
nothing more than look sullenly attractive, run around, scream a bit and cry on cue. Something she spectacularly fails to
do. She’s an actress. Who, on the evidence of this film, cannot cry on cue! She
tries. She scrunches her nose and
screws up her face. She makes the
right crying and sniffing noises, shoulders shaking with emotion. But there’s no tears. Not even lemon
juice-inspired ones. Which would be fine if her character didn’t spend
much of the film crying! Or if writer/director Simeon Halligan hadn’t insisted in
shooting her in loving close-up. SO WE CAN SEE SHE’S NOT CRYING!

But, if
you’re a fan of ludicrous over-acting, then Splintered may just be the treat you’ve been
looking for as it features some fine scenery chewing from Colin Tierney and not one but
two performances of twitchy, eye-rolling lunacy from professional twitchy,
eye-rolling loon

Stephen Walters. Playing a gun-toting priest, TV stalwart Tierney (he’s
one of
those actors you kinda half-recognise from UK shows like Cracker and
Midsomer Murders) has obviously recognised that subtlety really isn’t in
keeping with the
director’s vision of him as a Scouse avenging angel and contents himself
with swishing around in a big coat with a big gun
like a bargain basement Captain Jack Harkness. Having played a twitchy,
eye-rolling loon
in
movies like The 51st State (ratty, psycho skinhead with the runs), Franklyn (ratty, psycho informer) and TV’s Skins (ratty, psycho drug dealer), here
Walters gets the chance to really stretch himself. By playing two twitchy,
eye-rolling loons
,
damaged Gavin and his feral brother Vincent. Sometimes Simeon, less is more.

Touchingly,
Splintered is
dedicated to Executive Producer Clive Parsons (Gregory’s Girl, Scum, Tea
with Mussolini
) who
died last year. That strange, ominous tone on Splintereds soundtrack isn’t scary music,
it’s the sound of Parsons spinning in his grave. Ineptly directed, badly acted
and shot like Sunday night telly, I saw this film so you don’t have to. Don’t let my sacrifice be in vain.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia, who has worked in the media industry for more than 20 years, is the Publishing Editor of KOL Social Magazine. See website: thekolsocial.com

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