Movie Review: Splice, Where Will Science Go Next?

Splice is one of those movies that everyone should see. Only when it comes time for you to express reasons as to why someone should see this, you are left speechless. One of the basic reasons is trying to avoid spoilers. One of the most exciting things about seeing this film, myself, was because I knew very little about it. I knew it starred Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley and together, they would create another species. After that, it was the mystery that drew me to this story. The second reason would be because the story is so controversial. On one hand, there is a definite hint at stem cell research and using human DNA for the better good of humanity. The pros and cons can be easily seen in this film. On the other hand there is also a prominent message weighing both sides to abortion. Both subjects do a fantastic job of seeing the point from both sides equally. Splice treads a very fine line where by the topic is never pro or con for one subject. The film really serves as more of a think piece of our humanity and the turmoil that we all struggle with when it comes to major issues as these.

The film focuses on Clive and Elsa, an homage to Colin Clive and Elsa Lanchester from Frankenstein. Together they are two young scientists on the verge of discovery. As a couple, they can’t seem to agree when would be the appropriate time to move forward in their relationship and have a child, but as partners at N.E.R.D. (Nucleic Exchange Research & Development), they have no problem making tough decisions. Together, with the tools at their disposal and their slightly skewed morals, they create DREN.

DREN is part female human, as well as other parts from “peaceful” animals: chicken, pig, horse and so on. When the creature is born, it almost looks like a tongue with no edges or defining attributes. Quickly, it manifests into different stages. At one point, closely representing a chicken, and next a little girl. Originally, Clive and Elsa’s plan was “just to see if they could.” They never stopped to think if they should. They had planned on aborting the creature before it could develop, but seeing as it was developing so quickly, they took the opportunity to be able to study her full lifespan in a matter of months.

That matter of months is when the story comes into it’s own and begs the question, “should we be playing God?” Director, Vincenzo Natali (Cube) plays the brilliant puppet master when it comes to pulling on our emotions. With just the right amount of life given to DREN, she is real, and at a moment’s notice, is frightening. With a mix of CGI, prosthetics and a real actress to play DREN (Delphine Chaneac), she seems very real, and very unnerving that someone could be creating one right now. Natali grabs what scares us most, not a creature that looks nothing like we could have ever imagined, but a creature that is very closely resembling a human. Without the fantastic acting of Chaneac, DREN could have been laughable. Instead, she feels like we do, she deals with human qualities such as being a picky eater, having a fever, or learning through association. These qualities give empathy to DREN, and watching Elsa and Clive deal with her as new parents instead of scientists adds to our compassion and further presses our most ethical dilemmas into our minds.

What might be most surprising to some is that this low-budget indie film was picked up by Warner Brothers and set to be released in the height of summer with tent pole films. I believe that can be attributed to the compelling storyline. I will warn you, however, that Warner Bros seems to be aiming this film to the horror fans, from the trailers. Splice is really more of a psychological thriller that will have you talking with your friends for a week after. The action that is required for horror films can really only be found in the last half hour or so. Either way, I guarantee you will leave the theater thinking, “What the f**k just happened?”

I give Splice 4 “We’re closer than you think” out of 5

by Angela Davis

About Angela

Angela is the Editor-in-Chief of Lost in Reviews. She and Ryan created Lost in Reviews together in 2009 out of a mutual hatred for all the stodgy old farts currently writing film reviews. Since launching the site, Angela has enjoyed reviewing indie films over all other films, picking up new music from all corners of the world and photographing live shows. She is the co-host of Blu Monday and a member of the Kansas City Film Critic Circle.

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