An above average Rutger Hauer vehicle from 1992 that mixes future shock—make that schlock—and splatter. The British made SPLIT SECOND initially got lost in the multitude of early nineties sci fi splatterthons (TOTAL RECALL, CLASS OF 1999, DARK ANGEL, PREDATOR 2, HARDWARE, EVE OF DESTRUCTION, ROBOCOP 2, FORTRESS, UNIVERSAL SOLDIER, NEMESIS), but in the ensuing years has gained a following that dwarfs those of most of the others.
Several years from now Britain is crippled by global warming, resulting in mass flooding and a mini-plague spread by diseased rodents. Residing in this world gone mad is Stone, a dedicated cop on the hunt for a serial killer who murdered his wife. Said killer is an extraterrestrial freak who rips out peoples’ hearts, with the thing’s latest mutilation occurring in a sleazy nightclub; afterward the excised heart, bearing a massive bite mark, is mailed to Stone’s police station.
Stone hooks up with Michelle, an old flame who may or may not have some connection to the killer—but before he can find out for sure the creature claims another victim, a middle aged woman living in the same apartment building as Michelle. Stone unloads a full clip of ammunition at the thing but it escapes.
Stone refuses to be deterred. After yet another bloody killing he and his partner track the creature to an underground subway tunnel, where it’s holding Michelle hostage. Mayhem ensues.
SPLIT SECOND is far from the classic many cultists like to proclaim it, but it isn’t bad. Director Tony Maylam (of THE BURNING) acquits himself reasonably well, providing a diverting product that despite weighty subject matter (global warming, personal grief) never forgets it’s a grade-B exploitation picture.
The proceedings are bolstered by memorably atmospheric visuals and a supporting cast of sharp performers like Kim Cattrall and Pete Postlethwaite. Rutger Hauer makes for a reasonably compelling anchor with his naturally charismatic and vaguely psychotic air, even though his character isn’t developed much beyond the wise-cracking rogue cop trope that was in vogue at the time.
The ALIEN-ish creature at the heart of all the madness is, in keeping with standard monster movie etiquette, kept under wraps until the final ten minutes, and then only revealed sparingly—a wise choice given the critter’s less-than-inspiring guy-in-a-suit appearance. The final scenes portend a sequel that, needless to add, never arrived.
Challenge Film Corporation/Muse Productions
Director: Tony Maylam
Producer: Laura Gregory
Screenplay: Gary Scott Thompson
Cinematography: Clive Tickner
Editing: Dan Rae
Cast: Rutger Hauer, Kim Cattrall, Neil Duncan, Alun Armstrong, Pete Postlethwaite, Ian Dury, Roberta Eaton, Michael J. Pollard, Tony Steedman, Steven Hartley, Sarah Stockbridge, Colin Skeaping, Ken Bones, Dave Duffy, Stewart Harvey-Wilson