I’ve never been able to commit to any type of all month long horror marathon for the month of October. I watch quite a bit of horror movies to begin with, but even during a pandemic, my days are too full to watch one film per day. I was able to squeeze one in today, however, and so, I’ve decided to document my small success here for you all. Read on as I share my thoughts on Tony Maylam’s Split Second.
In a futuristic 2008, Detective Harley Stone (Rutger Hauer, Blade Runner) continues his search for a serial killer who murdered his partner. With the help of a new partner and his former lover, Stone soon learns the true nature of the monster he’s been hunting for so many years.
Released in 1992, the year 2008 looked much different in Split Second than it did when we all lived through it. With full cities submerged by endless rainfall and serial killers ripping the hearts out of victims, this version of ’08 actually resembles something much more close to our current year, quite frankly. While there are no gigantic creatures roaming our streets, I really wouldn’t be surprised if that is what we saw next in 2020.
Like tons of other films throughout the years, Split Second is one that has eluded me until now. I would hear rumblings of it from time to time, but never anything specific enough that made me think to myself, “boy, I really need to see that right now!” Oh how I wish I did make the decision to do so sooner. This film is one hell of a ride from start to finish and I loved every damn bit of it!
Global warming has run amok and London is under water. Right out of the gate, this dingy, soaked environment lends a huge hand in setting the tone for the film’s 90 minutes. It is damp and dark and you never know what is lurking in these rundown set pieces. If having a serial killer on the loose wasn’t enough, try catching the bastard while practically swimming.
Shamefully I must admit that I have very little experience with Rutger Hauer. The man has been in countless films according to his IMDb, but I have only seen him in one of two. The most notable of course being 2011’s Hobo with a Shotgun. (No, I have not seen Blade Runner.)
Hauer’s performance as the hardened Detective Stone was a treat to watch. Really. This man was a paranoid, anxious, cigarette-smoking, chocolate-eating, coffee-guzzling bully and I couldn’t help but love him. The veteran actor was able to play the part with so many layers to it, that I really think I’d need to watch Split Second one or two more times to really fully grasp everything here. He had a hard exterior, but certain mannerisms and actions made it clear that Harley Stone had a big heart, no pun intended, and cared deeply for the people in his life.
One of those people was his newly appointed partner and babysitter, Detective Dick Durkin. Durkin, played by Alastair Duncan who would go on to become a renowned television and voice actor, was the perfect compliment to his on-screen partner. He was the studious, play-by-the-rules one while Stone did everything his way, not caring if it got him suspended, fired, or even killed.
I swear, each and every time Duncan and Hauer were on screen together, I laughed out loud. There are so many great lines of dialog between the two and I can’t think of any other on-screen duo I’d rather watch again and again.
The pair are joined by other great performers throughout, including Kim Cattrall (“Sex and the City”) as Stone’s former lover and wife of his former partner — yeah, if that isn’t ‘complicated,’ I don’t know what is — but it is the murderous creature that will get the rest of my attention here.
I am not sure if it was the call of writer Gary Scott Thompson, Split Second being the The Fast and Furious creator’s first writing gig, or that of director Tony Maylam, but the decision to limit the screen time of our alien antagonist was a genius one either way.
Too often do films, indie or otherwise, blow it by revealing their big baddie too early. Give the audiences small glimpses, just enough to keep us hooked until the very end, then hit us with the good stuff. That is exactly what is done here, making the final ‘reveal’ of the behemoth that much more effective.
Split Second uses only practical special effects throughout its entirety. That goes for the mutilated bodies, the ripped out and chewed up hearts, and even more impressively, the creature. Effects artist Stephen Norrington, creature designer Cliff Wallace, and the rest of their teams did a remarkable job and I was highly impressed the entire time.
Split Second at Home
It might be a blessing in disguise that it’s taken me this long to watch this movie because now, in 2020, we have received a brand new home release, fully remastered, restored, and color graded in 4k from the 35MM internegative. This stellar presentation is available now on Blu-ray from MVD, as part of their Rewind Collection.
Not only does the film look and sound better than I’d imagine it ever has, but it comes with a whole slew of bonus goodies. This brand new release features a reversible cover, which features both the original artwork and a newly commissioned design, a mini poster, and everyone’s favorite — a slipcover.
The disc itself contains multiple brand new behind-the-scenes featurettes featuring interviews with cast and crew, an original ‘making-of’ feature from 1992, deleted scenes, promotional TV spots, an alternative full-frame Japanese cut of the film, a theatrical trailer, and more!
This is, without a doubt, the definitive edition to own of Tony Maylam’s Split Second.
It has taken me years, but I can finally say I’ve seen Split Second. It was a hell of a ride and I can’t recommend it enough. If you love sci-fi heavy creature features with blood and boobs and bullets flying, and are a fan of Rutger Hauer, this is a must-see.
Grab yourself a copy of Split Second today as I give this one 5 paranoid people with guns out of 5.