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Monday, March 26, 2012

Day 86: Splice

It's either a movie poster or an ad for Nair

There is a lot of overlap between the Horror and Sci-Fi genres. Both combine mystery, action, and fear of the unknown Aliens is a great example. One could make the argument that any monster movie can technically be considered Sci-Fi. I certainly don't want to get into a debate about semantics, so I'll just stick with a movie that clearly lies comfortably in both genres. Welcome to Splice.

Splice stars Sarah Polley (Dawn of the Dead, John Adams) as genetic engineer Elsa Kast and Adrien Brody (The Pianist, The Darjeeling Limited) as her husband, Clive Nicloli. They have successfully spliced the DNA of different animals to create a male hybrid for medical use and plan to have it mate with a female hyrbid. In order to take their research to the next level, they want to use human DNA, but N.E.R.D. (Nucleic Exchange Research and Development), the pharmaceutical company they work for, forbids it. Elsa pushes the issue and they continue their research in secret, successfully creating a humanoid hybrid with a stinging tail. The hybrid begins to grow at an accelerated rate and while Clive wants to kill it, Elsa convinces him that they should wait for it to complete it's life cycle. Elsa names the hybrid Dren (Delphine Chaneac) and begins to educate her. Clive and Elsa hold a public unveiling for their previous hybrids, but are horrified when the hybrids brutally kill each other. Due to their negligence, they had not realized that female had spontaneously changed to a male. Dren continues to grow and becomes sexually attracted to Clive. He tries to resist at first, but he can't resist her sexy hybrid ways. Elsa catches them in the act and Clive confronts her when he finds out that Elsa used her own DNA to create Dren. They agree to terminate Dren, but Dren has transformed into an aggressive, super-powered male. Will they be able to defeat Dren?
Roll over. Fetch. Kill.

I don't think I've ever seen a movie where I really enjoyed the first 30 minutes and completely hated the rest. The beginning of Splice was legitimately interesting and had a lot of potential, before it completely crashed into a mountain. It's basically like Frankenstein's monster with some stunted acting and predictable twists. The movie hits a real snag when it focuses too much on Dren's development and Elsa's relationship with her. We know Elsa had a bad upbringing, but rather than eliciting sympathy, it comes up at odd moments and creates a “so what?” feeling. It seems very out of place and forced. There is some decent action throughout, but it quickly gets shut down for more mommy-daughter time between Elsa and Dren. There are some incredibly uncomfortable sex scenes in the movie, but if you've ever wanted to see Adrien Brody do it with a mutant, this is your film, Weirdo.

Sarah Polley does her best in her role as an emotionally broken, but obsessed scientist working on multiple breakthroughs. Unfortunately, the character is very rigid and unpleasant. Adrien Brody, on the other hands, looks completely bored and would rather be anywhere else. It's almost like he can't believe he's in this movie either. Delphine Chaneac is pretty convincing as the hybrid Dren and her makeup looks very good. Director Vincenzo Natali lingers on scenes for too long and doesn't capture the horror aspect enough for my taste.

Stupid hybrid. Can't even put mascara on correctly.

Splice has a decent idea, but loses focus and veers off into extremely boring territory. It has a run time of 104 minutes and you feel every second of it. The Sci-Fi portion of the movie is strong, but the horror, not so much. Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody give lackluster performances, but I blame that more on material than ability. I had a lot of high hopes for Splice, but after the first 30 minutes, I was left extremely disappointed.



  1. And you don't even mention the sexist, overtones is obviously not the right words since it could hardly be less subtle. Docile, passive-aggressive, guy-crazy female form; mass murdering, rapist male form.

    Can't say that I ever saw anything redeeming about this one, I felt like it was a start to finish disappointment.

  2. That's a good point that I hadn't really thought of. I blame it on being distracted by how boring it was.