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Splice (2010 movie)

A science fiction thriller directed by Vincenzo Natali.

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A Twisted but Insightful look into where Science may be heading.

  • Nov 12, 2010
  • by
*** 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 creative, experimental way that the film itself is, be it imperfect, but still fun and wild enough to satisfy me for what it's worth. With repulsion comes loss, and "Splice" understands that on a surprising number of levels. If the film has a flaw then it is having too much fun with its idea to the point where it forgets to add a few ingredients. Anyways, it's not perfect, but it doesn't need to be. It lived up to my expectations exactly as planned, and for people like me is served well. I don't imagine that everyone will be willing to sit through it, although it's nothing close to a controversy. Nor is it anything close to brilliance. However, "Splice" is a whole lot more intelligent than it should be. In a year where anything can happen, be it a disappointment or a success, director Vincenzo Natali nearly breaks the mold with his latest film. He doesn't quite hit it out of the ballpark, but his "Splice" is surely a winner in my opinion. It could have been better, but as a fan of the horror/thriller genre I've kind of got to admire it for at least wanting to stick out, even if it doesn't stick out too, too much. This is in fact a horror film, even though technically it is not a scary one. It still has recurring themes of terror thrown into the mix to create this crazy-ass hybrid film which is as demented as the monster within it. Bottom line: if you want to see something really messed up, then let "Splice" do the talking while you do the watching. If there were an award for "most messed up film", "Splice" would have a good chance at winning for this year. And that's more honorable than it sounds.

On paper, "Splice" sounds pretty darn amazing. When it comes into full form, it's not quite as amazing but still remains fairly intriguing. The film centers around two scientists; Clive and Elsa, who splice human DNA with animal DNA to create an entirely new being. What they get as a result is a being unknown to mankind. They name their little monster Dren, a female creature who starts out as resembling a small bird and then goes on to resemble a human. The pair studies the creature's growth over time, and for a while the creature does well at gaining its knowledge. Maybe a little too much knowledge, but knowledge none the less. Dren grows into an eccentric creature, although over time her thirst for sexual intercourse becomes more apparent and more intense. She wants to make love; for one reason or another. She picks Clive as her partner in crime, and he does his best to resist, but in the end our friend is ultimately used by the beast. Then the story is boiled down to capturing and containing the creature until the pair can study it to their best ability. Perhaps "Splice" will be too intense for some, although anyone looking for an interesting and thoughtful experience should for sure check it out. This is a creative movie which presents to us the horrors of truth; that we may be heading down a dangerous path with science. Perhaps this film will teach us not to splice human and animal DNA to create such a sexually obsesses being as Dren, but we are advancing for both the better and for the worst. The film had a good feel to it overall, and it felt pretty smart and sure about itself. It may not be perfect, but then again it most likely couldn't have been. What "Splice" really is happens to be a mix between sci-fi, horror, and madness. A potent mix indeed.

Adrien Brody has not had a good year. First "Predators" now this. But by "this", I do not mean that this is another mis-cast performance from Adrien. In fact, Brody feels right at home in this movie. While I know that Brody can do better based on my experience while watching him on-screen, he is an actor who has yet to truly commit the sin of failing to impress on some level. It's not his fault when his performance feels a little out of place; it's the filmmaker's for casting him in the first place. Brody is good as a scientist, as it turns out. This may not be his most emotionally attached performance, but it certainly helps to make you want to sit through the damn thing. Sarah Polley, to be honest, wasn't half bad. Not bad at all, actually. In fact, she was pretty damn good. Nothing short of good, of course, but nothing more than "good" either. I'm fine with that. The supporting cast is fairly colorful, limited, yet strong. I'm happy that "Splice" contains talent from both ends of the camera, since if it didn't then it probably would have been a shit-storm of awful. Thank goodness.

"Splice" caught my eye with what is on display visually. The film looks great (in fact, much better than the average film) and the special effects are very, very good. There could have been more monsters, but I'm happy with what it was able to give me. The film leaves the audience with the anticipation of a sequel, although I know for a fact that the director feels as if that would be a step in the wrong direction. After all, not every movie needs a sequel. I liked how the film showed the evolution of its monster through time; from an innocent yet capable babe to a sexually obsessed fiend. I thought that the detail involved in this evolution was intelligent and made the film smarter than most sci-fi films, if not better. The film has a very good feel to it, and strangely enough I wanted to keep watching it regardless of whether the sexuality disturbed me or not (which it didn't, really). Anyways, "Splice" is a horror film without scares. The concept of the film is certainly frightening, but I get the impression that it was intended as more of a sci-fi thriller than a horror flick. Either way, it's a winner. Horror fans will enjoy it whether it falls under that specific genre or not. The music is definitely the snuff of horror movie goodness, and the tension is impressive. However, it's not all that scary. That is not the film's flaw, but rather its style. Perhaps it wasn't MADE to be scary, although it sure as hell was made out to be that way. Damn those advertisements.

"Splice" is pretty impressive I suppose. It's not a masterpiece nor is it a misfire; instead it is another seldom seen success in this year of cinematic bleakness. I do admire it for its craft and intelligence, but what I criticize has to do with its structure. It is not perfect, and that's about all I have to say for it. However, I would recommend it for anyone who's up to the challenge of watching it. Due to its content, it is not a film for everyone, but anyone seeking uniqueness should give it a spin. I greatly recommend that you at least try it, regardless of whether it sounds interesting or not. Keep in mind that while it is revolting and often times disgusting, it's also visually impressive and well-acted. I was not surprised when I concluded that I actually liked it, but also wasn't bewildered when I found out that it was imperfect. I never expected it to be perfect. And you know why? Because it is what it is; a messed up experiment film with actual experimental qualities. It doesn't need to be anything memorable; all it needs it a heart and ambition. And "Splice" has a lot of both. Hallelujah!

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November 13, 2010
This was predictable, but it was phase 2 predictability rather than phase 1. Nice review.
November 13, 2010
Yeah, I agree.
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 . June 06, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
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
      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
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 . June 10, 2010
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 …
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.
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie


  • 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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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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