REVIEW: Splinter (2022)

dir. Tom Ryan

When Scott (Jim Thalman) inherits the house of his late, estranged mother he moves in with his wife and teenage daughter, seeing it as an opportunity to bury his troubled childhood and start afresh. However while renovating their new home a stubborn splinter embeds itself in his foot, starting a chain of strange events that prove history to be anything but past. 

Written and directed by Tom Ryan from a story by Todd Staruch, the film effectively uses its seemingly small central injury as the titular splinter builds up body horror while doubling as a physical symbol of deeper themes. With a run-time of just 56 minutes the film has the slightly episodic feel of a Twilight Zone or portmanteau instalment, and indeed it is apparently part of an ongoing anthology called Return to the Theatre of Terror (named after the New Jersey production company behind the film).

Although it works then as a standalone piece the brief duration feels somewhat awkward; a little overstretched for a short but too underdeveloped to entirely satisfy as a full film. However it nevertheless remains an enjoyable and ambitious tale of family secrets and terrible legacies, and will be intriguing to see exactly how it works in its final anthologised form.

© Johnny Restall


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