Is it humane to use human DNA in genetic splicing if it can change human life as we know it? Director Vincenzo Nataliâ€™s Splice conveys an intense message that is profound and truly terrifyingâ€¦in concept. As I leave the theatre, I sift through the film in my head trying to figure out why the previews made it seem like the next great horror film. This film was more disturbing than anything.Â It did have the classic recurring recipe for a â€ścreature featureâ€ť film a la Frankenstein or Species, where scientists make and develop a creature as their child until it â€śevolvesâ€ť enough to be a worldly hazard, which is when they have to take responsibility for their scientific breakthroughs gone wrong and destroy the creatures themselves.
We have our â€śmad scientistsâ€ť Colin Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa Lanchester (Sarah Polley) who create something for the good of man-kind, despite the moral outrage it would obviously cause. Already extracting a beneficial protein that would help livestock from two spliced flesh-sacks named Fred and Ginger; they ask to push the envelope to human splicing. How those creatures ended up so phallic is beyond me.
The couple feels in their hearts that the benefits of human splicing, like the definite cure to major diseases and some forms of cancer, will out-weigh the morality of it. So, as top genetic splicers of NERD (Nucleic Exchange Research and Development) they emphasize this point with utmost passion not only to have NERD turn down the idea, but it put a stop to their splicing program altogether. They had to now focus on the routine of extracting the protein from Fred and Ginger.
Furious and filled with spiteful curiosity, Clive and Elsa decide to carry on the experiment in secret with human DNA. They do so in a lab within the same buildingâ€¦one wonders the security level of the entire company. â€śOnly until it is an embryoâ€¦â€ť Elsa says wide-eyed to Clive. Clive seems like he doesnâ€™t want to go through with the experiment but succumbs to his spouse’s mercilessly bad ideas (Itâ€™s his hobby).
As the creature rapidly evolves it becomes more and more dangerous. Follow this with the â€śhide rapid growing creatureâ€ť routine of constantly finding bigger hiding places, and we have the basis for the film. Add what someone could laughably call a twist and some â€śromanceâ€ť, and it becomes the film we know as Splice.
The acting by Brody and Polley was for the most part, enthralling. Their extreme transition from focused and composed scientists, to deranged and delusional researchers was done with reasonable pace and was very believable. Androgynous newcomer Delphine ChanĂ©acâ€™s performance role of the grown-up creature the scientists named Dren was one of the best I have seen. I will go as far as to say she lent more to the character of Dren than the special effects did. Unfortunately, I feel that the acting was one of the few things that kept the film going. The visuals were all great and the character development wasâ€¦interesting to say the least.
I understand the film is a look into the future of bio-engineering and the moral issues revolving around genetic engineering. However this gets diluted by stereotypical supporting characters and events becoming increasingly illogical. There are certain events or â€śfactsâ€ť without premise or reason that are tossed in to get a perceptible reaction from the audience besides the awkward stare I myself wore as I watched on. The development of Dren in the early stages and the dedication of the scientists as parental figures are touching. It really pulls you right in, preparing you for what you think will be a thrilling and almost inspirational final third part of the movie cleverly wrapping everything up.
The reality is that around this time the plot becomes forced and predictable. The relationship between Clive and Elsa becomes a weird train-crash of bestiality and feigned motherhood that is rushed along by Elsaâ€™s inflexibility and extreme naivety and Cliveâ€™s apparent decision to relinquish all control of his love life and scientific career.
My feelings on the movie fall all over the emotional spectrum.Â The most discernible being frustration but this is attributed to the aforementioned trailer. With sharp movements and a chilling sound track, you would assume when the announcer ominously breaks in with a deep pitched â€śSpliceâ€ť. It was a personal let down. The movie was admittedly exciting in the â€śwhat the f&*% is happeningâ€ť kind of way but so much so that it actually becomes pretty laughable. I think hard core sci-fi and bio buffs will thoroughly enjoy this movie.Â Everyone else should brace themselves for a strange genre mixture of creature feature, drama, and romance. Horror fans specifically, STAY AWAY because you will be bloody disappointed.