I’m recommending this British horror flick, but with some reservations. In terms of style, originality, and watchability, Splintered is definitely a worthwhile experience. The acting is thoroughly professional, it’s handsomely photographed, and the story sails along at a tidy clip. So why did I feel so underwhelmed at the end? Maybe because the movie turned out more like a gothy episode of Law & Order: SVU than the mind-blowing terror that I eternally crave.

Sophie (Holly Weston, who demonstrates considerable dramatic ability) is a teen suffering from bad dreams about a childhood monster that stalks her at bedtime. What this has to do with her desire to track down a legendary beastie that’s been terrorizing the Welsh countryside is anyone’s guess, but there you are. She and her feckless Scooby gang drive out to the woods, drink beer, get stoned and hope for the best. Sophie stumbles upon an abandoned Catholic orphanage that looks like Buckingham Palace and gets imprisoned by Gavin (Stephen Walters) a feral weirdo who lives there. Turns out Gavin is the civilized one—it’s his brother Vincent that’s got major aggression issues; these include tearing people’s throats out and a bad case of hot pants for Sophie.

I had this one pegged as a werewolf movie. There are numerous references to the full moon and at one point Sophie is seen reading up on the subject. Well, it isn’t a werewolf, a golem, a ghost, a ghoul, or even El Chupacabra. It’s just a nimble cannibal boy raised by dogs. Once that shoe drops, I felt like I was wasting my time, though director Simeon Halligan does his best to keep the frights flowing. It’s just a bummer to wait out a movie for the “big reveal” only to discover that the “monster” is only mildly monstrous. Sorry, but my imagination is mightier than the pen that wrote Splintered.

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