By Rachel Shatto
Splice is a film you have to sit back and mediate on to really form an opinion, if you go just by gut reaction you’re missing the point.
When trailer first premiered, Splice appeared to be just a technologically advanced rock ‘n’ roll reboot of Species, fortunately the trailers were intentionally misleading. Where Species was a sci-fi action affair Splice, in comparison, is a slowly paced psychological sci-fi potboiler.
Written and directed by Vincenzo Natali (Cube) and executive produced by Joel Silver and Guillermo Del Toro, Splice stars Sarah Polley (Dawn of the Dead) and Adrien Brody (pretty much every genre flick this summer) as Elsa Cast and Clive Nicoli, rock stars of genome splicing. You know they are the coolest kids in the lab because not only do they “do science” to the sounds of metal and punk tunes, they wear subversive hipster-y clothing, are on the cover of Wired and swagger through the R&D headquarters like it’s Studio 54 for nerds—I kid, I kid—because despite these (mildly annoying) affectations Elsa and Clive are actually pretty likeable characters. Partners both in both the lab and in the romantic sense, the film opens with the two successfully creating “Fred” an genetically spliced blob-like critter that produces a very important protien that can be synthesized for its medicinal properties, for livestock.
Eager to parlay this success into developing another organism with human medicinal applications, they are ready to throw some human DNA into the mix, however the corporation footing the bill decides that it’s more important to monetize the advancements they’ve already made then further their research. This however, does not stop Elsa and Clive from moving forward with their project, albeit in secret. Which is how they come to create Dren, an animal/human chimera, played by French actor Delphine Chanéac and created by some pretty incredible CGI.
So far this all sounds like standard sci-fi fare, however what sets this film apart is where it goes next, rather then having Dren grow into a sexbomb in heat à la Species, or escape into the walls and start picking off the unsuspecting scientists one-by-one, Clive and Elsa instead become caretakers for Dren gradually growing attached (in increasingly unhealthy ways) to the beautiful and unpredictable—and yes, deadly creature. As the lines between right and wrong steadily blur things take an unexpected and fairly disturbing turn.
To go into more of the plot would require delving into spoiler territory, which I won’t as Splice is well worth plunking down your $9.50 at the theater. Its an original, thought provoking, well-acted, dark little flick that is decidedly anti-summer blockbuster.
After much consideration I’ve decided, I really enjoyed Splice and you should too.