I've been wanting to see this movie for a long time and finally just got around to renting it.
A couple goes on a camping trip to celebrate their anniversary. When they break one of the tent poles, they decide to check into a motel instead. On the way, a girl flags down their car. But she's not in trouble; she and her boyfriend take the couple hostage. When they pull over at a gas station that is deserted, they find the attendant covered in blood and porcupine quills. He attempts to attack them, so they barricade themselves in the gas station. While trying to think of a way to their car, the monster comes out....
Splinter never explains what the monster is and only shows vague glimpses of it. All you know about it is that it infects humans with porcupine-like needles, turning them into crazed zombies after they're dead. I would've liked to know what it is and actually see it by the end of the film. But it was still one of the most original movie monsters I've seen (or not seen).
Even though there aren't many death scenes or much gore (there aren't enough characters to kill many off), the film was very suspenseful. The monster and its zombies try desperately to get into the gas station. I jumped a few times when they tried to break the door down.
The characters were all interesting and smart, for a change. They realize that the monster senses you through body heat, so they cover a guy with ice until his temperature is low enough to not be detected. I would've never thought of that. And I was surprised that the criminal turned out to be a nice guy who realizes that he's made some mistakes in the past.
Despite the fact that the monster in Splinter is barely shown and never really explained, it's still very original. And the interesting characters make it worth watching.