Movie Review: Splice (2010)

Splice is one of the few big movies out this summer that isn’t a sequel, spin-off, remake, re-imagining, or anything like that. However, I’d hardly say it’s original. We all know that the whole “scientist screwing with the laws of nature” concept has been done to death- going back as early as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Fortunately, the movie is well aware of this, and offers some fresh ideas. I was quite pleased at how quickly it breezes through the obligatory “They’re shutting our research down, let’s work on our project in secret” bullshit and goes straight to the creating of abominations of God. It goes through a very interesting process. Splice aims to fascinate rather than repulse, so don’t expect to be too grossed out. This is the kind of movie that Alien design creator H.R. Giger would be proud of. It’s the absurd, psycho-sexual theatre of oddities that something like Alien: Resurrection could only dream of being like (note the possible tip of the hat: the incubation machine is named the “BETI” and sports a similar pin-up to the ship in A:R ).

The strength of the movie, I feel, is in its creature effects. If you don’t have a convincing creature, you don’t have a movie, and I thought they pulled off this creature, “Dren,” very well. Not only did it blend CGI and makeup effects seamlessly, but the performance by Delphine Chanéac should be given a lot of credit for adding dimension to the creature. I didn’t see a special effect: I saw living being that thought and felt, and even schemed. I should hail the performances of Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley as well, they added some credibility to the project and their characters are reasonably developed and well-rounded.

It delves a little deeper than the average creature feature. When the characters inevitably express their regret with toying with mother nature, I truly believed it this time around, but it’s certainly not limited to a preachy “Thou Shalt Not Disrupt The Natural Order”-type message. What the message is, I can’t really say for sure. If anything, it’s almost a twisted Adam and Eve kind of story, where the Godless characters abandon all that is good simply because- I suppose- they can’t get off on normal procreation anymore. They suffer the consequences.

The bad news is that while it does take a few steps above the norm (there are some truly bizarre moments that I can’t even begin to describe), it suffers from going by-the-numbers at times, particularly by the end. So it doesn’t exactly reach the heights it wants to, and at the same time, it doesn’t serve up nearly enough thrills for people looking for a mainstream scarefest, so I’m wondering if there’s even really an audience for this movie. Without giving anything away, I’ll tell you that one of the last lines in the film is the classic, fate-tempting question, “What’s the worst that could happen?” The answer: Splice 2, straight to video.

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1 Comment

  1. I love your closing thoughts:

    “What’s the worst that could happen?” The answer: Splice 2, straight to video.

    HA HA!

    This was a trippy WTF flick for sure. I had not expected it to go the places it went (in terms of the back story and Polley’s character) — so for that element of surprise I give it props. Certainly left a bad taste behind, though — which was maybe the point?

    Feel free to stop by for more on my take on the flick:

    http://davethenovelist.wordpress.com/2010/06/06/splice-of-american-gothic/


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