Review: Splice

Posted June 2nd, 2010 at 9:14 am

Splice is one of the most difficult movies I’ve ever attempted to review. Even now as I write this I feel largely conflicted and uncertain of any sort of final verdict other than having found it strangely entertaining. This is not a conventional film to say the least and that I really liked about it. However in the process it takes some turns which are very uncomfortable for the audience. While it is being marketed along the lines of a horror movie I wouldn’t describe it as such. It is more of a sci-fi thriller which has some really creepy elements attached to it.

The story centers on two scientists that secretly create a new organism by splicing human genes together with genes from various animals. The result is a creature (which they name DREN) that has a short life cycle but throughout its growth continually takes on more human characteristics. There are also a number of surprises discovered along the way. Adrian Brody and Sarah Polley carry the film on their backs as the main characters though Delphine Chanéac turns in a surprisingly convincing performance as the adult version of DREN.

I was not sure, actually I’m still not sure, if the movie is meant to be taken seriously. Some of the dialogue is corny and the acting comes across a little on the campy side. Despite that it all made some sort of sense in the context of the film. The two main characters had pushed past a moral boundary and found themselves questioning the concept of right and wrong and costs vs benefits. They were two brilliant scientific minds that arguably lost their way and with that could some explanation of their eccentric nature and unconventional relationship. And that applies not just to themselves but also their relationship with DREN.

There are a few scenes which were incredibly uncomfortable to watch and I suspect could be enough on their own to turn some people off from the movie all together. I want to avoid spoiling what those are but they will be obvious to anyone that sees the movie. Several moments in the film drew out uncomfortable laughter from the crowd, but there are two in particular that could just end up being too much for some to take due to the somewhat disturbing nature of them.

Splice is a very difficult film to recommend despite my having enjoyed it. If you are looking for something different this might be the movie for you because at the very least it is unique. There are some interesting events that take place which defy the conventional turns found in more generic fare and the film foreshadows very well allowing for the viewer to tie some things together after the fact. There is a genuine creepiness throughout which works well with the sci-fi vibe. Splice will definitely create a good deal of discussion amongst anyone who sees it.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Splice opens on Friday June 4th.