‘Splice’ Review

Published 4 years ago by , Updated June 11th, 2010 at 9:28 am,

Splice Splice Review
Screen Rant‘s Vic Holtreman reviews Splice

We first mentioned Splice way back in November 2007. Guillermo del Toro (Blade 2, Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) was producing and Vincenzo Natali (director and co-writer of the cult classic Cube) was set to direct. It took a while to make it to the screen, premiered in Spain last November and had its real debut at Sundance this year. And now U.S. theater goers finally have their chance to get totally creeped out by it.

Right from the start, you’ll be wondering what you’re in for with some of the creepiest opening credits I’ve seen in a film. Splice stars Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley as Clive Nikolai and Elsa Cast, a scientist couple who are at the forefront of genetic engineering. Their latest creations are “Fred and Ginger,” a pair of living, amorphous blobs from which proteins can be farmed that are invaluable in creating medications for diseases prevalent among farm animals. They were created from spliced together genes from a number of different animals.

The pharmaceutical company which employs them (which surprisingly is NOT portrayed as the prototypical “evil corporation”) needs a big win for the board of directors and stockholders. They want to move to the next level with the current research but Sarah and Clive want to jump ahead to what THEY consider the next level: Introducing human genes into the splicing program.

David Hewlett (best known from Stargate: Atlantis) is the supervising scientist and both he and the company president are against the idea due to both the risks and the ethical implications (especially how the press and public would react). Our pair of scientists are terribly put out by this news, in particular Sarah – who has made up her mind that she wants to move forward. Apparently she has Clive wrapped around her finger because despite his extreme reservations he goes along with her plan; hesitating and faltering at the last possible moment in which he can stop the entire experiment.

What follows starts out weird, moves to along to “creepy” and eventually ends up at “oh… DUDE!!”

At first the creature looks like no more than a misshapen organism, but as it grows it begins to look like a deformed infant and as it ages into a child it become a bit less deformed in some ways but more unsettling in others. While they struggle to keep it hidden from co-workers, Elsa becomes more and more attached to the creature, which while looking partially like a little girl, resembles more of a wild animal that someone tries to adopt and tame.

As Dren (eventually played by Delphine Chanéac) matures, the film really keeps you guessing as to what will happen next – which way it will turn, what will or can they do with the eventually fully matured woman/creature and at what point will things go horribly wrong (and boy, do they).

Splice image 5 570x306 Splice Review

Delphine Chanéac as Dren in 'Splice'

Vincenzo Natali does a fine job with what seems to be a fairly low budget, but the CGI effects that combine with live action to create Dren from infant to adult must not have been cheap. The low key way in which it was shot makes it feel somewhat cold and very real-world. Adrien Brody is always up to whatever acting task comes his way and Sarah Polley is convincing as the scientist with a hidden agenda hidden behind “mommy” instincts.

Really the first two-thirds to three-quarters of the film outshine what comes after. It’s not that what comes towards the end is bad – it’s just that the film goes from unique and engrossing Sci-Fi to more of a conventional horror film. Of course with that final act comes a thing or two that the viewer will probably find quite unsettling.

Splice is a hard movie to describe as far as for a recommendation – it’s a cross between horror and Sci-Fi, and while it’s not terribly gory, it IS unsettling and definitely deserves its R-rating. It tells a story that you’d think has been done to death, but approaches it from a new and surprising angle that is… well… I’m not sure refreshing is the right word, but you get my drift.

So I’ll leave you with that, and another look at the trailer for the film to help you decide.

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Our Rating:

4 out of 5
(Excellent)

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TAGS: 4 star movies, splice

68 Comments

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  1. Dude I heard the guy screws the spliced thing. That’s so messed up this movie looks like strate garbage. If I read that in the script I would instantly drop out of that movie a Brody must need that paper. Plus he sucks as a leading man. Sorryto hatethat just bothers me.

    • yeah he does screw the creature, and something happens latter on but i dont want to say spoilers. He reeaaallly must have needed that dough.

  2. Wow man the chick thing turned you on….. That’s so broke. I used to like this place once but wow things have changed. 4 stars… That’s what you might have given kick ass and I betthat movie is a wayy better.

  3. Looks very interesting. A very compelling read thanks Vic.

  4. ******* MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD *******

    ******* DON’T READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS ******

    I don’t know if Vic will create a spoilers section, so I decided to post stuff here. People have been wondering about Clive having sex with this creature they created. Clive did indeed have a sexual encounter with Dren (Nerd spelled backwards), but the reason for this (at least what I saw) was because Elsa used here own DNA to create Dren and Elsa seemed to have some major control over Clive. It seemed like Clive’s commitment to Elsa is at the cellular level, as Clive realized (before his sexual act) that Dren was part Elsa during his dance with Dren. This sexual act did more damage than just hurt their relationship. Also, there was another sexual act that was not concentual.

    • I hope he makes one soon

      • Even if it was on a cellular level, that is still messed up. And the other sexual act was even more messed up.
        I hope their will be a spoiler section.

  5. well i hope a sequel can be made to see what happens next. but the money that it made is not close to what it cost to film it. i hope it picks up because it was anew take on horror/sci fi thriller films and was really good.

  6. DId anyone else notice that Toddler Dren looked like something out of Hellboy or Pans labyrinth??? Yeah i was just thinking about that, how all Del Toro’s Creatures look similar.

  7. — SPOILER!!! —

    @kahless i’m not sure i agree with you. just because dren had elsa’s dna doesnt mean it’s ok for clive to bone her. what if they had a kid together and she happened to look like elsa? i would hope he wouldn’t feel the need to bone her too.

    • ****** SPOILER AHEAD ******

      No, you misunderstood what I was alluding to. Clive was compelled to love her because he was genetically attached to Elsa (I know, but this is sci-fi :-)); the human DNA was totally Elsa’s, which wouldn’t be the case with an offspring.

      • could be pheremones released by Dren as part of seduction as well

        • The first thing I thought there was pheromones, as well. But really, neither pheromones nor “Elsa’s DNA” was necessary to explain what happened.

          • Tru, Brody’s character was just deprived for so long that in his mind he felt it was necessary to do what he did.

            • if he couldnt wait just a lil bit longer, he has a problem…..

              • Well with how controlling Polley’s Character was do you think he gave it up willingly….. lol j/k

        • i was thinking that it might be pheremones as well. What else on God’s green earth would compel Clive to do something like that. It was just a disgusting thought. I thought that the rape scene was INCREDIBLY disturbing. even though an “alien” species would be driven to procreate, the reality is that the DNA would be incredibly jacked up – Elsa is essentially carrying her grandchild. YUCK! i was really disturbed. i thought it was good until this weirded out turn of events, even though I found Elsa’s character incredibly irritating throughout.

  8. The movie was OK. I wasn’t impressed at all.

  9. Did anybody notice that they showed the male dren’s package or was that the tail?

  10. @Brizor, Ha! It was a tail. Anyway, I have to say that I will wait until this one comes out on teh Netflix. I like to watch any movie with Adrian Brody all by my lonesome (tee-hee)

  11. this movie blew me away. nothing like i thought it was going to be. but fascinating that there are animals that can regenerate and change sexes in our kingdom now and are amphibious/reptilian/bat-like/etc…crazy crazy. i would “love” to see what elsa’s baby looks like. jesus! can you imagine???

  12. The movie was ok and had some good ideas, but also some mistakes.

    3/5 max for this one

  13. wow… wahv….!! this is what i said when movie started …. its really entertaining n same type petrifying movie…!!

    we can notice the both of scintist couples dilemma eagerness n everything else in every scene..

    the most heart compelling scenes are
    when dren is dipped in water tank..
    n

    last climax scene where her creator only kill dren with rock…!!!

    i really enjoyd it….

    it also makes us think positive and negative side effetcs of cloning and splicing..

    i appreciate dren charecters actress and both scientist couples acting..

    n as far as concerned to special effects n setting its good..

    those who not yet watched it n wanna do so: first make yourself prepared for interesting- catching then shocking twists n turns…!!

  14. Ok, this is way old but I happened to be browsing the internet to look up the true story behind the new movie possession….and came across this….This movie was a waste of my time and money, I walked out of the movie. I thought is was going to be great I begged my friends to go with me to watch it. I thought it was a great new idea for a Sci-fi, what I didn’t expect that is was just a hyped up porn movie with and bad plot. Not only did the the sex scenes ruin the integrity of the movie, the rape scene, just made it even worse. If I could get my money back I would do it in a heart beat. I hope this movie doesn’t not become a sequel EVER! After I watched the filth, all that popped in my mind at the people who wrote it, were a bunch of nerds who live with their mom in the basement wanted a movie that lived out their disgusting sexual fantasies. Basically like twilight….but I would rather watch Mr. Sparkle-Lot that this tripe!!

    • ooops ignore the double negative :P