Movie Review Rewind: Splice (2010)
It is a rare occasion when a horror film can turn into a sci-fi film and by the end still be a good film. Splice is this rare occasion. A lot of times, a horror film is not even close to being scary, and the sci-fi movies can come off as cheesy and stupid. But director Vincenzo Natali finds the perfect balance between the two and the story becomes suspenseful and fascinating.
Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) are genetic engineers and they are damn good at it. Their specialty is splicing together DNA from different animal species to create new ones. However, the pharmaceutical company they work for is shutting them down to start Phase 2. But, Clive and Elsa have worked too hard just to quit now. Secretly, they splice animal DNA with human DNA and this gives us the birth of Dren (what does that spell backwards?).
And, what started out as an experiment to see if they were capable of achieving their goal turns personal for Clive and Elsa. They let Dren (Delphine Chaneaclive) live her life, but not like a human. Instead as their pet. Dren not only grows at a vigorous rate, but she has many unique physical developments. She is very intelligent and fully aware of what is going on around her. After all, she is half-human, half-animal. Dren started out as a miracle for Clive and Elsa, but she turns into their worst nightmare.
Just like its two main characters, Splice is smart. The film did its research and it is very scientific. It is easy to feel lost in some of the conversations Clive and Elsa have. These two are nerds and they would be the first to admit it. And, the film makes it very clear when you see what they decorate their house with. But this film gets into deeper issues than just a creature created and on the loose.
The reason they went through with creating Dren is multi-layered. Was it for science? Possibly for their ego? Or maybe Elsa wanted to be the mother she never had as a child and Dren could be her daughter. Maybe all of the above.
The material focuses on what is moral and immoral. Dren is treated like an animal more than an individual. Is that right for Elsa and Clive to treat her like that? These two people are playing God and deciding if Dren should live or die and they struggle with this throughout the whole film until it’s too late.
Brody and Polley make a great couple. I would have never imagined putting them together, but I’m glad the director did. They are perfect for their roles and their chemistry feels real. They really work well together and embrace their character’s personality and sense of reason. What makes sense to them may not make sense to us.
Splice is intelligent and has more meaning than meets the eye. But it is also creepy as hell. The film does mess with your perception of what is “normal.” It tries to get some emotion out of its audience and I think it does a nice job doing so. Boundaries are pushed and lines are crossed, but Splice enters in to new territory and takes an unfamiliar look at creation and how it can go horribly wrong.
“Nature Boy” Brandon Vick is the resident film critic of the SoBros Network, and star of Brandon’s Box Office In Your Mouth. Follow him on Twitter@SirBrandonV and be sure to search #VicksFlicks for all of his latest movie reviews.