Movie Review: Splice
Adrien Brody and Sarah Polly play two of the dumbest smart people in movie history in the new sci-fi horror flick, Splice. Polley (Dawn of the Dead) is a baby-craving overzealous scientist with mommy issues, and Oscar-winner Brody (The Pianist) is her all-obeying pushover husband. While they’re both good actors and their performances in this movie are no exception, the decision making of their characters is frustrating to say the least. Then again, it’s hard to find a good horror movie that’s grounded in sensibility.
They’ve just made a scientific breakthrough by creating a brand new species of blob-looking beings, but they decide to illegally and unethically push the envelope by adding human DNA to the formula. The result is Dren, a rapidly growing and quick learning human/thing hybrid. Dren (that’s “nerd” spelled backwards) looks like a groundhog with turkey legs at first, but she quickly matures into something resembling a winged Taylor Swift. Like any stupid genius scientists would, Brody and Polley become attached to Dren, played admirably in her adult years by French actress Delphine Chaneac.
Director Vincenzo Natali (Cube) seems to know his way around a laboratory much better than he does around a farm, which is where Dren is taken when her “parents” begin worrying about their ability to keep her a secret. While some of the later scenes delve into familiar horror thrill territory, the scenes that lead up to the climax are satisfactory in being demented and shockingly provocative. There are all sorts of underlying themes of beastiality (or “interspecies erotica” for my politically conscious readers), transsexualism, and the ever-apparent influences of the Electra and Oedipus complexes.
One thing that concerned me is that for a movie that started so slow with all its scientific mumbo jumbo after a seemingly endless opening credits sequence, there is really no scientific explanation made for the make-up of Dren. She has amphibious lungs, a tail with a lethal stinger, and randomly appearing wings that disappear back into her skin when she’s done using them. I realize this is a movie we’re talking about, but is a physical background summary too much to ask for?
Despite its flaws, Splice is an unnerving sci-fi thriller that never quite sat easy with me. Fortunately, that’s exactly what you want out of a movie like this. It might be too twisted for the masses, but I see it becoming something of a cult favorite whether it be instantly or a few years down the line.
RIYL: Species, The Fly, Jeepers Creepers.