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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 15.52%
Average: 6.9%
Pretty Bad: 29.31%
Total Crap: 10.34%

6 reviews, 22 user ratings

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by Daniel Kelly

"Or how to bang a monstrous hybrid behind your girlfriend’s back."
4 stars

“Splice” is an intriguing motion picture; an unusually thought provoking film designed to encourage questions alongside the shivers. The marketing makes the movie out to be a straightforward creature feature, in actual fact the property is something much cleverer and worthy of notice. Director Vincenzo Natali does eventually wimp out with a conventional monster on the loose climax, but until that juncture “Splice” marks a fascinating dissection of the ethical implications surrounding genetic engineering.

Elsa (Sarah Polley) and Clive (Adrien Brody) are scientists who specialise in the art of genetic splicing, a skill that has landed them the opportunity to help cure several major diseases. Against the orders of their employers, the duo decide to add human DNA into their genetic melting pot, hypothesising that such an act will help increase the speed and validity of their research. The result is Dren (Delphine Chaneac) a creature of immense prowess and intelligence, but also of undeniable innocence. Despite some initial reservations from Clive, the scientists let Dren mature, eventually forming an almost paternal bond with their Frankenstein creation. However others working in the lab begin to suspect that Elsa and Clive have a secret project on the go, which coupled with Dren’s increasingly hostile behaviour leads to major trouble.

The relationship at the heart of “Splice” is unusual, but this only adds further flavour to this unique endeavour. Clive and Elsa are both colleagues and lovers, an onscreen dynamic sold effectively by Polley and Brody’s equally believable turns. The addition of Dren (excellently portrayed by a feral Chaneac) brings some serious instability to the film’s central romance, a nice touch that further highlights the nasty consequences playing god can incur. Natali has done a great job of forging engaging characters and a somewhat offbeat onscreen connection for them to inhabit, flushing extra feeling into the visually subdued final product. “Splice” is quite a restrained film from a stylistic standpoint, Natali clearly placing more stock in his actors and writing than his ability to construct glossy images.

As a horror film “Splice” scores some sweet slow burn tension during the first 80 minutes or so, before forgoing some credibility in a finale overcome with boo moments and dollops of gore. It’s a pity the movie feels the need to mainstream itself come the climactic set-piece, underscoring some of the refreshing ideas bubbling under the preceding material in the process. Of course in the tradition of body-horror features “Splice” also opts to infuse a few shock and awe sequences into the game, not least a glistening sexual undertone that runs rampant in the film’s last chapter. Natali brings this arc to completion through a sequence that unsteadily walks the line between camp and obscenity, but until that point the carnal frustrations hinted at in “Splice” are of upmost interest and entertainment value.

Dren’s design is creative, but some of the CGI used to render her is suspect. “Splice” mixes prosthetics and digitals to depict its monster, the former far outweighing the latter in terms of quality. This aspect doesn’t particularly damage “Splice” as an overall film going experience, but the difference between the make-up and CGI in terms of realism is at times jarring.

The film blends together elements of movies like “Jurassic Park” (the anti-genetic engineering stance) and “The Fly” (icky horror with underlying humanity), and whilst it can’t boast to be as good as either of those offerings, “Splice” remains a valuable motion picture. To see it crumble so notably at the end is a major disappointment, but up until that point it’s a fixating and occasionally beautiful cautionary tale, which winningly has something important to say.

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originally posted: 07/07/11 21:40:24
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2010 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2010 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2010 Seattle International Film Festival For more in the 2010 Seattle International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

2/19/20 Dr.Lao Apparently they spent so much on special effects they could not afford set lights 3 stars
10/30/16 morris campbell dull icky and dumb unless your into sex with mutants 1 stars
8/23/12 TreeTiger A very good, albeit, very unusual horror movie. 5 stars
11/10/11 matthew thompson dalldorf Made me cry 5 stars
11/02/11 KingNeutron Nice acting from Delphine, but horribly slow-paced - kept FF at 1.5-2x for most of it! 2 stars
11/29/10 TheyAllFallApart Simply appalling. 1 stars
11/07/10 Real Critic Elsa "There are things we just don't do!" Sex w/3 week old mutants is frowned upon LOL 3 stars
10/30/10 gc If u like watching people have sex w/mutants u will love this movie. Truly absurd 2 stars
10/17/10 reptilesni Illogical & unclear motivations for character's actions. Should've been better. Wasn't. 1 stars
10/13/10 Meep Has some nice moments, but ultimately boring and predictable 2 stars
8/17/10 TravisN Definitely not for everyone, but I found a lot to like in it. 4 stars
6/22/10 Pim The movie kept me interested with terrific visuals, but it's not appropriate for everyone. 3 stars
6/22/10 christy spires This is one of the worst movies I have ever seen!!! 1 stars
6/22/10 Ken Kastenhuber A terrible parenting parable, lame. 3 stars
6/16/10 Ace-of-Stars Not so much "bad" as it was "irritating"! "Dren" was the ONLY sympathetic character in it! 2 stars
6/14/10 Naneek1 Engaging, well, acted, delightfully sick horror-comedy. At least it's not a remake! 4 stars
6/13/10 Ming One of the best sci-fi of the year...Inter spice mating is interesting 4 stars
6/09/10 Eric Olsen The movie was great 5 stars
6/08/10 action movie fan some potential but generally boring and go nowhere story-this years movies have been dull 2 stars
6/07/10 NyJonesy26 Completely awesome is the only way I can describe this movie. 5 stars
6/06/10 chris does adrian brody have bookies to pay back? 1 stars
6/05/10 Ronald Holst If you enjoyed Spices you will be board stiff with this one ! 1 stars
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  04-Jun-2010 (R)
  DVD: 05-Oct-2010


  DVD: 05-Oct-2010

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