Sundance 2010 Review: SPLICE - This movie will mess you up

Directed by: Vinenzo Natali (Ginger Snaps)

Starring: Adrien Bordy and Sarah Polley (Dawn of the Dead)

The classic monster film gets a deliciously sadistic twist in Vincenzo Natali’s contemporary dissection of the genetic engineering dilemma. Clive and Elsa are young, brilliant, and ambitious. The new animal species they engineered has made them rebel superstars of the scientific world. In secret, they introduce human DNA into the experiment. The result is something that is greater than the sum of its parts: a female animal/human hybrid that may be a step up on the evolutionary ladder. They think they may have created the perfect organism—until she makes a final shocking metamorphosis that could destroy them—and the rest of humanity.

This film played out like a sci-fi horror greek tragedy. If you know your literature then you know greek tragedies can be extremely jacked up and this film takes you down a very dark road, a road that leads to something that is completely insane and wrong in every way imaginable. There are events that take place in this movie that took me to places I didn’t want to go. It’s definitely different and original, but it definitely crosses the line and makes you cringe, and wonder who the hell thinks this stuff up!? Because, there are some sick minds at work here.

Unfortunately, the script was poorly written. My biggest problem with the film was its juvenile dialogue. There were a good amount of laughable scenes in the film, not because they were supposed to be, but because the dialogue was so bad. There were points that the audience laughed because of it. There is a scene in the film where the two main characters are in an argument and everything they said to each other was ridiculous. For a film that had a solid setting, strong special effects, a nice polish, and a very dark and intense idea, the dialogue just didn’t fit in. It was an A movie with a B movie script. 

The acting didn’t really help either. Adrien Brody did a fine job in the film, he was able to salvage a little of what was written for his character. But actress Sarah Polley unfortunately was the weakest part of the film. Her performance was weak, forced, and at times laughable. She is a decent actress! I’ve seen her do great things in other films, but this one she just didn’t bring her A-game. I suppose she did the best she could with the material she was given.

It was very cool and interesting to see the female animal/human hybrid that was engineered in the story progress from a slimy blob into an extremely interesting creature. The creature was named Dren. The evolution of which brings the whole story together and leads it and the characters into absolute chaos. The special effects used in creating this creature was flawless, and the design was hauntingly fantastic. It was different from anything I’ve ever seen before. The special effects and design team did a great job developing Dren.

I’m torn with Splice, there’s stuff that I liked, and stuff that I didn’t like. But, hardcore horror fans are going to love this film, it offers everything a horror fan wants to see in a movie and I promise it will shock the hell out of you. You won’t see it coming, then all of a sudden you’re watching a film that just snaps your brain right out of your head and kicks it around for a bit until its all nice and mushy, then it smashes it with a hammer. 

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