It was meant to be a romantic get away for the outdoorsy Polly (Jill Wagner) and her more academic boyfriend Seth (Paulo Costanzo) but when the tent pole snaps as they try to erect it they decide to drive down the road to a motel. The journey leads to them being carjacked by Dennis (Shea Whigham) and his drug addict girlfriend Lacey (Rachel Kerbs) and then to make matters worse the hit something which damages the car and forces them to stop at a small gas station. It is there that this small group are forced to try and work together when they discover that something there which is infecting its victims with poison through splinters.
When is a horror movie not a horror movie? When it is more to do with how people deal with the situation. That is the case of "Splinter" which sees a couple and a criminal trapped inside a gas station surrounded by some sort of parasite which infects its victims through splinters. It means that "Splinter" is not going to appease those who watch looking for just big frights despite some special effects driven horror as we see severed fingers come to life as they sprout spikes and splinters of their own.
What that means is that "Splinter" instead is more about solving of a puzzle, how this group of people try and save themselves from popping the hinges on doors to trying to hook a cop's radio with a coat hanger. I wouldn't say any of it is clever but it makes it interesting as do the changing dynamics of the characters as the situation brings out a change in attitude when it comes to Dennis. Having said all that I will say that the most memorable scene in "Splinter" is one of gore and involves an adhoc amputation rather than anything else.
The thing is that whilst entertaining to a point and has some interesting ideas it doesn't have the stand out factor, that something which when in a years time you see "Splinter" on the TV schedule and go oh year that's the movie which had that going on. It also often feels low budget despite some familiar names and faces which also adds to its problems.
What this all boils down to is that "Splinter" is a good movie and has a good angle when it comes to a familiar set up of people trapped in a building surrounded by a creature. The trouble is that it doesn't have that something extra to make it memorable.