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Splice (2010 movie)

A science fiction thriller directed by Vincenzo Natali.

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3.5 stars. Could have been silly but it's actually pretty darn creepy.

  • Jun 10, 2010
  • by
Rating:
+3
I liked the movie SPLICE, but I'm not sure I would ever recommend it to anyone. It's a horror movie that walks very tightly on the line between irredeemably silly and truly creepy. For me, it fell on the creepy side just enough to make it a fun experience. But based on some of the very low audience scores I've seen, it easily falls on the laughable side for many.

It tells the story of two scientists who are a couple (Adrien Brody & Sarah Polley) who work for a big conglomerate that seeks to develop a new source of animal protein, or something like that. They are literally developing new life forms that look like giant slugs and apparently will make for truly outstanding sources of protein. For reasons not entirely clear and/or credible...they add just a smidge of human DNA to the recipe (without permission from anyone , of course) and end up with a hybrid that starts out as a painfully ugly creature that looks like a lumpy slug with stump legs, but eventually grows into a slender, mostly human looking female (except for the wide side eyes) that has some characteristics that aren't entirely human, nor are they entirely safe.

Modest mayhem ensues in this film that is really yet another modern update of the Frankenstein story. In fact, the two main characters are named Clive and Elsa...could that be Colin Clive, who played the original Dr. Frankenstein and Elsa Lancaster, who played the original Bride of Frankenstein? Regardless, Clive and Elsa are two of the most irresponsible scientists to grace a movie. Their experimentation is reckless in the extreme (and probably pointless too). At first, Brody is horrified by the creature his partner as spawned, and wants to destroy it and pretend none of it happened...but love and fear of his partner stop him. Gradually, roles reverse as the creature (named "Dren"...which is "nerd" backwards) develops a personality along with a strong, dangerous will of its own.

If it all sounds silly...that's because it IS very silly on paper. But for me, the film worked to an extent by embracing the "wrongness" of what these two scientists were doing. I was filled with dread at nearly every turn by the casual disregard for scientific principles and the truly yucky looking creature. The beast was "wrong,"...just looking at it, you knew that a thing like this was never meant to exist.

As Dren grows up and learns to express itself in more recognizable ways...we do grow to take an interest in her well-being...but only up to a point, because she has a mean streak that's rather alarming too. And she keeps changing throughout the movie, so you really have no idea what to expect next. Dren is a pretty cool Frankenstein monster, as it turns out.

The film also works because of Sarah Polley. As she did for the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake, Polley brings a serious, grounded approach to her acting. She never once appears to acknowledge the far-fetched nature of that she's doing...but she tries to act her character as though she was a super-smart, egotistical but still flesh-and-blood person, not just some screenwriter's concoction. Her character is given some silly things to do and say, but what Polley does is emphasize the believable parts of the script, embrace the character arc she is given, and she plows through the silly stuff, making it matter far less. Brody is fine as well...although I wouldn't say he quite brings the same gravity to his portrayal. Sarah Polley is used far too little in films...probably because she isn't a conventional "Hollywood beauty." Instead, she comes across as a real person you might actually meet. I find that refreshing. The movie itself is shot in a color palette that is all winter colors, adding to the grimy nature of the proceedings.

The special effects are passable but not great. The story has a conventional, even predictable ending scene that steals a lot of its impact. But faults aside, I also found I could not look away from the compellingly icky SPLICE.

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December 02, 2010
This was very predictable but I liked the way it manages to generate a creepy feel. Nice review!
 
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More Splice (2010 movie) reviews
review by . November 04, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I'm Guessing the M. Night Shyamalan Promo Team Has Struck Again
Quite frankly the Splice trailer led me to believe it was to be some what of a horror or suspense film and I saw none of the above. Maybe my eyes deceived me or maybe the promotion team was tryna pull a fast one. Anyway Splice is super simple but extremely odd. Genetic engineers Clive (Adrian Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) try to achieve a successful splicing of a series of different animals DNA to help revolutionize medicine and science. All seems well after the 2 actually pull it off with the …
review by . November 12, 2010
*** out of ****      Seldom do we see something genuinely different to the point where most would refer to it as "messed up". I am of course referring solely to the world of film, since whenever somebody tries to do something disgustingly creative, it seems to come out wrong and rather dull. "Splice" is the needle in the haystack; the film that manages to be entertaining yet unrestrained. The film addresses the dangers of genetic experimentation in such a …
review by . June 06, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Poster
Co-produced by Guillermo Del Toro and co-written and directed by Vincenzo Natali, in a joint venture between Canadian/French /American filmmakers; “SPLICE” is a horror-Sci/fi thriller that explores the age old theme of man trying to remake nature for the sake of the 'common good'. We are familiar with the themes of “science gone mad” or the “abomination against the laws of nature”; since such themes have been explored in films such as the classic …
review by . October 31, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
DREN WAS EXCELLENT
      SPLICE      I have to say that when this film first came out other than the crazy looking female in it I wasn't to into it. But of course tha changed when I actually got the chance to see it and my opinion turned around. Don't get me wrong I always wanted to see it but it was not a priority. This film actually turned out to be much better than I thought it would be, in fact I thought it would be just average. I was pleasantly surprise as I thought …
Quick Tip by . November 16, 2011
Throughout most of its runtime, this audacious sci-fi flick benefits from fine performances, nuanced characterizations, credible CG and exceptional makeup. Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley star as a married pair of accomplished yet marginalized genetic engineers who create a humanoid life form (Abigail Chu, Delphine Chanéac) of rapid growth and unprecedented adaptability. Although the leads are undermined by sloppy and abrupt editing similar to that of a sneak preview cut during the film's …
review by . June 04, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The study of Nature makes a man at last as remorseless as Nature.  - An excerpt from "The Island of Dr. Moreau" by H.G. Wells    The problem is, lovers and genetic scientists Clive and Elsa (Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley) don't know this. At least, they don't know this at first. Just like Dr. Moreau, it's all in the name of scientific progress and the belief that it will somehow benefit humanity. Their methods are, initially, totally objective; by splicing together …
Quick Tip by . December 02, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This film had a lot of potential, but I couldn't help but feel that it was treading such familiar ground that it couldn't hold my interest. Right off the bat, I could foresee how the entire plot was going to unfold (any Cronenberg fan will know what I mean) and the plot is all-too familiar and formulaic. However, I was willing to overlook this because of the film's pedigree (it was directed by the same guy who made Cube and strong performances. Still, what disappointed me most was that …
Quick Tip by . October 31, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Caption
I do recommend this film but hit up a rental first because some people will most likely not like this. In fact some people may hate some of the things that happen in this flick, I loved it. When you watch you will know what parts I am talking about, I am sure some already do know. Over all this was much better than I thought it would be.
review by . June 26, 2010
I hope there is a director's cut of Splice. I really, really, REALLY hope with the DVD it will be like 2007's I Am Legend and have on a bonus disc the film's original ending. Why do I say this? Well, I haven't researched much, but Warner Brothers once again - just as in I Am Legend - has a decent sci-fi movie that ends on a low-note. I'll put it this way: up until the final 15 minutes I thought Splice was one of the best science-fiction films I'd ever seen.     Just about everything …
review by . October 07, 2010
Splice was an intense movie. I loved the plot and the acting was great. It's safe to say that there will be a second one.
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I've got my own site, www.afilmcritic.com, on which I'm posting my reviews. I am 46 years old, married 25 years, two kids (23 & 18) and currently work in accounting/finance. I spent 15 years … more
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  • Splice
  • Opens Friday, June 4, 2010 | Runtime:1 hr. 44 min.
  • R
    disturbing elements including strong sexuality, nudity, sci-fi violence and language.
  • Superstar genetic engineers Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) specialize in splicing together DNA from different animals to create incredible new hybrids. Now they want to use human DNA in a hybrid that could revolutionize science and medicine. But when the pharmaceutical company that funds their research forbids it, Clive and Elsa secretly conduct their own experiments. The result is Dren, an amazing, strangely beautiful creature that exhibits uncommon intelligence and an array of unexpected physical developments. And though, at first, Dren exceeds their wildest dreams, she begins to grow and learn at an accelerated rate--and threatens to become their worst nightmare.
  • Cast: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chaneac, David Hewlett
  • Director: Vincenzo Natali
  • Genres: Horror-Science Fiction
Poster art for "Splice."
In the grand movie tradition of doomed scientists, Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) won't let the official quashing of their Frankensteinian experiment stand in the way of working on the scheme anyway. Sure, the ethics of swizzling together human genes with various lab potions is queasy, and the initial result of their rogue project is disconcertingly pitched somewhere between a human baby and a monster thing with a stinger in its tail. And yes, the beastie is growing fast. Like, really, really fast. ...
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Details

Director: Vincenzo Natali
Genre: Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Release Date: 2010.6.4
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Doug Taylor, Vincenzo Natali
DVD Release Date: October 5, 2010
Runtime: 104 minutes
Studio: Gaumont, Copperheart Entertainment, Dark Castle Entertainment, Senator Entertainment Co
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