Review: Splice

Splice, directed by Vincenzo Natali, is a strange concoction of genres: It’s horror and science-fiction, erotic and beautiful; the film as a whole will have most deeming it as uncomfortably strange, a solid wave of repulsed viewers already floating up around the surface. The film stars the gentle-faced Adrien Brody as Scientist Clive Nicoli, alongside his Scientific partner and girlfriend Elsa Kast, played by Sarah Polley. Their scientific goal is to genetically-engineer the DNA of several animals in order to create a hybrid-organism; however, this Prometheus-like attempt results in an uncontrolled accident hybrid that takes a subtle course of strange and circumstantial events upon birth and natural growth.

There is a well-executed device of foreshadowing early in the film, where the scientists create a pair of DNA-species that turn amok on each other to a splattering death, in front of a querying crowd of Scientists and patent-ready business men. If a cult-horror club had been flipped instead into the room, applause would surely spark at such a graphic, primitively violent presentation. What does one say when their genetically-engineered animal catches the rabies in a vacuum-cleaned glass chamber? Oh, damn.

The task of hiding the new animal-species, a placid round-headed humanoid with a tail and a vertical incision-like mark on her skull, whom the scientists name Dren, is very difficult, as Dren displays keen curiosity resembling that of a budding human child. She rummages through scientific-materials and refuses to eat the food set out for her, when finally Scientist Clive removes her from the lab, relocating her out in a barn in a cold and desolate forest. He and Elsa sporadically visit, and the strangest act of the film ensues. Dren gradually begins to quietly resent Elsa and starts growing flirtatiously clingy towards Clive.

The film has an unnerving bizarreness to it, but it’s also very effective with legitimately scary moments and some uneasy but nonetheless thought-provoking questions. It’s dark, Orwellian, and unpredictable.

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