Splice is a tricky, tricky film. While some advertisements would lead you to believe it’s a horror movie that focuses on the simple scares of stuff popping out from the darkness accompanied by loud, almost verbose music, those advertisements are deceptive, as Splice is actually a very well crafted film that is thought provoking and even somewhat topical.
I would imagine most people who are very interested in this film are because of the way it was marketed. It’s not a slasher movie, it’s not a monster movie. It’s a science fiction horror film, and it wears those hats very blatantly once the movie begins. The tone of the film is never to scare you by simply startling you, it’s one that requires a bit of thinking to go along with its ride.
Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) are scientists who have been working with animal DNA in creating hybrids. They believe they are ready to begin implementing human DNA into the equation, but they cannot get permission from their lab to proceed. But naturally, they do it anyway. Clive is initially very against it, as he knows both the legal and psychological ramifications of doing so. Elsa seems hell bent on achieving this so they can begin solving many of the problems in the world at large, at least from a medical/scientific perspective.
Almost immediately, the problems begin. Not only must they hide their new project, but they aren’t even really sure what the hell they’re doing. Elsa begins to treat this new creation, named Dren, in a very motherly manner. She seems to be losing focus on their original reasons for doing it, instead opting to treat Dren as her pet. Polley plays the balance well, as she never becomes annoying, or even overly sympathetic. He performance seemed very organic, which in the horror genre is a major feat.
Clive seems almost lost as Dren begins to evolve at a rapid rate. He seems more driven to hide what they’ve done rather than take advantage of the situation by pursuing the original goal. Much like his female counterpart, Brody’s performance is genuine. Clive is likable enough as a scientist, and he seems like a pretty decent guy.
However, the situation quickly gets completely out of control as Dren begins to recognize herself as human and develop attachments to her adoptive parents, and neither Clive nor Elsa seem apt to solving the issue. Instead of working together, as they have done for years in the lab, they begin to work almost against each other.
The entire film is pretty grim, and I can’t imagine the target audience embracing it for what it is. There aren’t the traditional scares, and the movie does require you to think a bit. There are a couple of very campy moments, but for the general movie going public I believe this movie will end up being misunderstood, simply because it isn’t what people want it to be. I would almost recommend waiting for DVD just so you don’t have to take a chance of seeing it with an immature audience, because they will completely ruin it for you if you let them.
Splice is a dark, engaging sci-fi horror film that boasts a handful of solid performances. Even Delphine Cheaneac as Dren delivers a fantastic performance. The film does have some cringe-worthy moments, and wrestles with a lot of themes that the audience must digest before they can enjoy the film for what it is. It’s almost a guidebook on how not to raise a child. Those expecting a straight-out horror movie will hate it, but those willing to embrace the film under its circumstances will likely find what I did. An above average movie with solid acting and an engaging plot.
Final Score: 6.5/10 (Okay)