Splintered (2010)

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Released 18-Sep-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror / Thriller Audio Commentary-Cast & Crew Commentary
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Deleted Scenes
Trailer
Trailer-Accent trailers x 30
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 78:31 (Case: 80)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Simeon Halligan
Studio
Distributor
Accent Film Entertainment Starring Holly Weston
Sol Heras
Jonathan Readwin
Sacha Dhawan
Stephen Walters
Colin Tierney
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI ? Music Richard Bodger


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, sharing a joint
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Since she was very young Sophie has been having nightmares about a hairy beast that breaks into her room as she cowers under the bed. So when there are news reports of a beast killing people and animals in Wales, of course Sophie (Holly Weston), now a young woman, enlists four of her friends, John (Sol Heras), Dean (Jonathan Readwin), Sam (Sacha Dhawan) and Jane (Sadie Pickering) to go with her into the isolated woods and camp, armed only with a camera, in an attempt to photograph the beast. On the first night, Sophie storms away from the camp after a fight with Sam. John follows her and, when Sophie sees something move in the darkness, they (of course) follow whatever it is deeper into the woods. There they find a large, run-down spooky dwelling and, as you do, they follow a trail of blood into the house.

     Naturally that is a bad move and they are attacked and John killed. Sophie regains consciousness to find herself locked inside a room. Her captor is a seriously deranged man named Gavin (Stephen Walters) who nevertheless tells her that he is only keeping her locked up to protect her. Meanwhile, when dawn comes and Sophie and John have not returned to the camp site, the other three decide to search for them. Dean later goes back to their car and it is night before Sam and Jane find their way to the spooky building and, of course, despite the blood they also have to explore inside with predictable consequences. Back at the car, Dean is surprised but pleased when another car arrives. Inside the car is Father Thomas (Colin Tierney) who seems to know something about the run down building in the woods and about the beast. Together they drive to the building where a night of horror and mayhem ensues.

     Horror / supernatural films require not so much a suspension of belief as a suspension of common sense: why would that lone teen / innocent person / young woman go down the stairs / into the attic / into the forest at night, when all logic and common sense screams out that they should run as fast and as far away as possible; now! The first half of Splintered really requires the audience to wonder just how anybody could be so totally stupid. I mean, camping in the woods with only a camera for protection knowing a killer beast was on the loose and following a trail of blood into a creepy house in the dark is not common sense. Have they not watched any horror movies in the last 30 years??

     Yet when it gets past this imbecile behaviour, Splintered, from writer / director Simeon Halligan, is actually not too bad. It is tense and scary and delivers the required shocks and gore, although the music and the camerawork mostly let one know when the shocks are about to arrive. The film is also overly concerned with explanation and the reveal takes place 15 minutes before the end. Yet, and perhaps in compensation, the film then reveals a number of additional levels, including the explanation for Sophie’s nightmares. It is almost as if, to compensate for the set-up, all the loose ends must be tied up and so even after the seeming climax there remain a few more surprises and shocks.

     When it gets started with the scares and gore Splintered is actually quite fun, helped by the fact that Holly Weston is an attractive lead. She is also the only cast member with any backstory, the other young people merely fodder for the beast. There is also a degree of religious iconography in the film, and the church, as might be suspected from the appearance of Father Thomas, is very much part of the reveal of the beast. So in summary: the film certainly gets into its stride as it goes along and, if not everything works, enough does to make Splintered as a whole better than its parts.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Splintered is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     Most of Splintered takes place at night in a dark gloomy building. It was filmed digitally using the Red One camera and a lot of the sequences are almost a monotone of shadows, although rather than black and white most are shades of blue. Detail is not great and shadow detail can be sometimes indistinct, which may be deliberate. There is also a fair amount of noise reduction in these dark sequences. In the daylight scenes colours were still muted.

     There was occasional motion blur but no marks.

     There are no subtitles.

     The print is acceptable for a low budget film.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The feature audio is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track at 448 Kbps and there is also an audio commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 track at 192 Kbps.

     Some of the dialogue between the five young people is indistinct, but I doubt if anything important is missed. This is not a loud or aggressive audio track but the surrounds and rears, as appropriate in a horror film, are utilized for weather effects, creature growls, the music and atonal sound effects to create tension. The subwoofer is used to add bass to music and the atonal sound effects.

     The original score by Richard Bodger references just about every horror score, and does tend to signal the frights.

     On a number of occasions the audio track seemed to be running slightly in advance of the video so the lip synchronisation was slightly out.

     The audio track did what was required.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     A surprisingly extensive and interesting collection of extras for a low budget independent film.

Cast & Crew Commentary

    Writer / director Simeon Halligan, producer Rachel Richardson-Jones and actors Holly Weston and Sadie Pickering provide a chatty commentary without much technical information. They laugh a bit and talk mainly about the various edits of the film, script and plot points, their intentions and they provide anecdotes about the shooting on location in the abandoned seminary. An easy listen.

Behind the Scenes (45:40)

     A comprehensive look at many aspects of the production of Splintered, including the scripting and setting up of the project, the cast, the use of CGI, shooting with the RED One camera, editing, the production design, the music, the stunts, prosthetics and make-up and the director’s background and methods. The featurette consists of behind the scenes footage and interviews with just about everyone involved including the director, producer and executive producer, all the main cast, visual effects supervisor, editor, cinematographer, production designer, prosthetics designer, composer, writer, sound designer, special effects co-ordinator and stunt co-ordinator. One of the better examples of this type of featurette, this is interesting and worth a look but be warned there are plot spoilers, so watch the film first.

Deleted Scenes (11:21)

     Presented without any explanation are a number of deleted scenes and an alternative ending that changes the whole emphasis. Other than the ending, most of the rest of the scenes take place before the young people arrive at their camping site, and were obviously cut to get into the action earlier. Certainly worthwhile.

Trailers

     On start-up there were trailers for The Conspiracy, Hotel Noir, Circle of Lies, Shadows of Liberty and Vanishing Waves, that collectively run 11:02. A total of 30 trailers of Accent Film Entertainment releases can be selected from the menu; some of the start-up trailers are repeated and we do get a trailer for Splintered included. There is a “play all” option.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 1 US version of Splintered is listed as being in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and having no extras. The Region A Blu-ray has some extras, but apparently not the audio commentary.

     The Region 2 UK DVD release, from what I can tell, seems similar to ours. Buy local.

Summary

     The first half of Splintered really requires the audience to wonder just how anybody could be so stupid but when the film gets into its stride it is not too bad and delivers its share of tension and shocks. Holly Weston is also an attractive lead so the film is worth a look as it is by no means the worse example of the genre.

     The video and audio are acceptable. The extras are reasonably extensive and worthwhile, and there is a raft of trailers.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, November 18, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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