Autumn has fallen and it’s time once more to celebrate the primal, compulsive instinct of fear. Rainestorm finishes its horror trilogy and goes to the well one last time to highlight 31 days of spooky scares that season the eerie atmosphere of Halloween.
Hex cast: 2008
The charm: A quasi-zombie movie mixed with hints of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, From Dusk Til Dawn, Assault on Precinct 13, and just a soupçon of The Evil Dead. Imagine, if you will, a parasite that resembles splintered wood, killing its host but reanimating it until all of it is consumed. Sound absurd? Someone forgot to tell the filmmakers, though, because it’s told in dead earnest, with scarcely a laugh to be had. What’s even more absurd is how well all of these elements work together. This is one of the most inventive and suspenseful horror films of its kind and there’s absolutely no reason why it should work but it does. Shea Wigham inherents the anti-hero mantel from Darwin Joston (Assault on Precinct 13) and Kurt Russell (Escape From New York) and he is superb as the take-charge escaped convict, Dennis. Paul Costanzo is relatively convincing as the meek boyfriend in over his head who puzzles out the parasites’ strengths and weaknesses. Splinter is appropriately gruesome but never goes so over the top that the film sacrifices character for cheap laughs. Director Toby Wilkins apparently wants to be taken seriously, and based on this film, I see no reason not to.
Focal point: An urgent and impromptu amputation.
Speak the words: “It’s okay, it’s okay, we’re cutting your arm off.”
Companion spell: The Thing (1982). This may be something of a stretch but I honestly cannot think of another horror movie that shares something in common with Splinter.
Cursed by: As is common practice today, shaky-cam is employed during most of the attack sequences to give the film a grittier look… but also to cover up the special effects.