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Splice (2010 movie)

A science fiction thriller directed by Vincenzo Natali.

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3 ½ Stars: The Arrogance Of Man When They "Architect" The Laws of Nature....

  • Jun 6, 2010

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 “Frankenstein”, “The Fly”, "Embryo" and “Species”. “Splice” takes inspiration from those movies and while admittedly, the film is derivative from other films, it does do those elements with dauntless aspirations.

Clive and Elsa (Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley) are two scientists who are in the cutting edge of new research and technology as they have a created a new life form made from different animals by means of “splicing” their DNA. Seeing an opportunity to further their research, the two decide to experiment with human DNA using the same techniques of gene splicing, despite it not being sanctioned by the pharmaceutical company they worked for. They come up with a new life form that they have come to call “Dren” (played by Delphine Caneac, “Dren” is N.E.R.D. spelled backwards) and the two discover that she is growing at an accelerated rate. “Dren” is dangerous, having abilities far beyond the capabilities of any animal and a tail that has a very lethal sting. The three seemed to have developed an unorthodox yet close relationship but things are becoming worst as “Dren” is developing to an adult female…a dangerous female that is curious about sex. Man should not mess around with the laws of nature….

               Delphine Chaneac as Dren and Sarah Polley as Elsa in "Splice."

              Sarah Polley in "Splice."

So how far should science go to discover new things to benefit mankind? Is it worth going against the laws of nature for the benefit of mankind? What is the morality that defines invention, creation and abomination? Should these lines be crossed in favor of new discoveries? What would be one's responsibilities upon creating a new life form...what would be valid reasons to even try?  “Splice” does define the answers and while it doesn’t exactly do anything new in terms of some things, it does have the boldness to actually try to go to a certain point in this types of story. I have mentioned that the film feels derivative of other films, but I did enjoy the way it developed its story.

“Splice” makes the arrogance of man and the desire to beat some flaws in the human DNA be its driving force in the development of the story. The plot is a little predictable but the screenplay manages to engage and interest the viewer. I was left wondering as to what kind of life form “Dren” would turn out to be. She started out as a baby with an appetite for eating breath mints, then the viewer see her develop into a more intelligent life form; able to understand, spell, never talk and yet seemingly develop some emotions towards her creators. I liked the way the direction kept things simple, and each scene was able to speak for itself, until the viewer becomes privy to the project’s end result. “Dren” has the characteristics of a bird, a monkey, an amphibian, a scorpion, and even a gazelle with a very human-looking appearance that well, truth be told can be sensual; that ultimately leads to a final evolution that was surprising. This evolution does make sense in weird kind of way that I was able to buy into it (so course I am no biochemist).

            Adrien Brody as Clive Nicoli and Sarah Polley as Elsa Kast in "Splice."

What I also found interesting was that the characters were developed along with “Dren”. At first we see two scientists who are also lovers; one eager to experiment and set new rules while the other expressed a word of caution. Elsa was the one eager to pursue this experiment while Clive had his doubts and wanted to destroy “Dren” in the beginning. Then as soon as “Dren” matures a little, Clive displays more sensitivity to their creations’ needs, Elsa was seen as “Dren’s” mother figure and Clive became something else. It was also a nice touch as “Dren” witnesses sexual intercourse that she begins to develop a curiosity towards it. The reasons why Elsa went for this experiment was a little underdeveloped and leaves much for the imagination, but the film does push some boundaries. Clive and Elsa were considered “Dren’s” parents, but I guess those rules don’t apply when it comes to mating to a new, unknown species. It also fell to some trappings with a corporate entity that requires results theme but it didn’t hamper it too much.

          Delphine Chaneac as Dren and Sarah Polley as Elsa in "Splice."


For a film of this kind, it is refreshing that it practiced some restraint when it comes to visual effects; there were some but they didn’t overload the film. The make up effects used on “Dren” was pretty good. (ahem) There were times that “Dren” exuded a mild form of sexual appeal but I guess those were just my reaction to the actress who played her character. The film has very little blood and gore, and the cinematography by Tetsuo Nagata had that simple yet mesmerizing appeal. The acting by the trio of Brody, Polley and Caneac sparked the needed dynamics that I have to say that their scenes together made the film.

“Splice” is a film that is developed by its characters and does have some surprises that proved to be credible. Its main weakness would be that it felt rather formulaic; however well they develop those formulas. The film is bizarre, and quite frankly, certain scenes were riveting; it also managed to generate a feeling of dread in its sequences that finished with a twist that gives an idea that there may be a sequel. Vincenzo Natali’s “Splice” is a good sci-fi/horror film; while not exactly reinventing the genre, it sure did have its moments as an emotional, cautionary chiller.

Recommended! [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]

HYPE LEVEL: Pretty Reasonable. The film wasn’t exactly highly publicized as a Guillermo Del Toro creation which could have made its hype pretty high, but for a film that can become a sleeper hit (before the summer blockbusters) “Splice” was pretty entertaining. 






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June 16, 2010
I thought it was fairly predictable but not in the most obvious way. Instead of going with cliche number 1, they opted for number 2a, which they managed to keep a bit of a secret by not telling us about Elsa's childhood until late in the picture. I did find it jarring when it came to how quickly Elsa became like her mother, but I suppose that could be written off to being placed back in the environment where her own abuse had taken place. It held my attention so I give it lots of credit for that. (By the way, you were supposed to find Dren's character sexually appealing, so don't worry about it. That was part of cliche 2a.)
June 14, 2010
This is one I want to see. I hadn't heard of it before, and then the other day I scoped out a trailer of it on my phone when I was trying to decide which movie to go and see. Ended up seeing Iron Man 2, but I'm not sure if I am going to write a review on it purely because I have a couple of other movie reviews in the works. Despite being a bit off topic, great review! I'll let you know what I think of it when I see it. :)
June 15, 2010
I'd love to read a review about this movie from you. This was very derivative and I think it had more highs than lows. However, for you, I think a rental first would be advisable. I take it you didn't like Iron man 2 too much?
June 18, 2010
Yeah, I will probably wait and rent this one. I've been hesitant to view movies since I'm so behind on my film reviews. I don't always take notes, so then I have to rely on my memory...hate doing that. Iron Man 2 was ok. I'm pretty sure I enjoyed the first one more. My main problem was that too many unnecessary details were included, which made the movie longer than it needed to be or dragged in certain points. I haven't decided if I will write a review on it. I want to finish two others I've started first, lol. I won't get to them, though, until I finish my two book reviews. The books are overdue at the library! I hate when that happens...
June 10, 2010
I just scanned the review because I'm going to see it. 4 stars from you is convincing enough for me!
June 10, 2010
I went scrambling to see it when I saw Guillermo Del Toro's name as producer. GDT never failed me yet!
June 10, 2010
I was waiting to see what the reviews looked like because I hadn't heard of del Toro's association with the film. You got a point--his name on it is good enough for me!
June 16, 2010
Oh, Karen, another top reviewer gave this movie the same rating I have, so you'd better get cracking....
June 16, 2010
Just saw it this morning. Now I can read your review!
June 08, 2010
I really want to see this, excellent review man. She looks crazy.
June 09, 2010
Thanks, Alex.
June 06, 2010
Great review. I have been thinking of going to see this moive and this pretty much settles it. Thanks!
June 07, 2010
I think you will enjoy this one, Lexie.
June 07, 2010
Yup, going to go see it this week acutally so I'll let you all know what I think!
June 06, 2010
Nice job, this caught my eye with some interesting interviews I caught on the tube, but I wasn't impressed by the trailers. But you say it's decent? I didn't know that del Toro was involved in this at all. Mutant girl is creepy.
June 07, 2010
Del Toro's the main reason why I went to see it and I wasn't sorry.
June 06, 2010
Good review. I have been meaning to see it since I heard about ti a few months ago it looks very intriguing and plus I love this form of science fiction genetic splicing has always been something very interesting to me as has been time travel since I was little.
June 07, 2010
Lopez, if you're into the biological sci-fi bit then this will interest you.
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 . 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.
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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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