Wearing its influences very much on its bloody sleeve, this low-budget monster movie borrows from the very best — Night Of The Living Dead and John Carpenter’s The Thing — and yet emerges as something altogether fresh and frightening. Biology PhD major Seth (Paulo Costanzo) and his spunky girlfriend Polly (Scarlett Johannson-lookalike Jill Wagner) find their anniversary camping trip interrupted by escaped convict Farrell (Shea Whigham) and his junkie girlfriend who hijack their car and hold them hostage.
Worse is still to come as they stop at an isolated gas station and are trapped inside by a parasitic organism that infects its victims via nasty black splinters before mutating into a hideous (though barely glimpsed) creature made up of its previous victims’ body parts. Adroitly balancing characterisation and gore, this sensational debut from FX veteran Toby Wilkins — a Brit no less — wrings maximum suspense from the spare, deceptively simple set up. Terrific stuff.