Monday, October 10, 2011


By s. Monday, October 10, 2011 , , , , , , ,
(104 min, 2009)
Plot: Genetic engineers Clive Nicoli and Elsa Kast hope to achieve fame by successfully splicing together the DNA of different animals to create new hybrid animals for medical use.
Director: Vincenzo Natali
Writers: Vincenzo Natali (screenplay), Antoinette Terry Bryant (screenplay)
Stars: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley and Delphine Chanéac


Meet Dren.

Vincenzo Natali, director of famous and very good movie ”Cube” does a decent job with “Splice” sci-fi horror (?) movie. I rarely watch movies like this – I'm grossed out by weird genetically modified things and whenever some sort of crazy science and experiments are involved in the movie. But I was bored and the movie has Adrien Brody in it, which I thought was very unusual, but given Brody's last choices I'm gonna go ahead and declare that the man has obviously chose new path.
Elsa (Sarah Polley) and Clive (Brody), two young rebellious scientists, defy legal and ethical boundaries and forge ahead with a dangerous experiment: splicing together human and animal DNA to create a new organism named "Dren" (Delphine Chanéac), the creature rapidly develops from a deformed female infant into a beautiful but dangerous winged human-chimera, who forges a bond with both of her creators - only to have that bond turn deadly

The biggest asset of the movie is the creature itself – extremely well done, using CGI, puppets and actual actors. But the best thing about it is that it has personality. Dren looks a little like baby combined with kitten when she is an infant and behaves like one too. Then she starts to resemble human more, except for weird, how do I put, legs with two pairs of knees. But her behavior is very human – at first she is very rebellious, spits out food, then she plays with toys and starts getting attached to her “parents”. There is a teenage crush too, which manifests through her drawings. The creature doesn't speak but Chaneac does great job in this role, she can be cute and adorable, just to turn dangerous and deadly in next scene.

Sarah Polley plays very interesting character, Elsa, with deep psychological issues. She had awful mother, now she treats Dren like her actual child. But her issues are worse than she thinks and the experiment will bring out first the best in her – wonderful scenes of her and Dren bonding – and then the worst. Brody...damn, that's a good actor. He can make anything plausible and he's great as Clive, who is scared of Elsa's determination and tries to sabotage the experiment. Later scenes, including dancing and extremely interesting and original love scene (followed by hilarious scene, I couldn't stop laughing) prove that he can be convincing even in strangest scenes. The acting in this movie is really great, which was the biggest surprise.

The movie is not a horror per se – it's more like a study of the horrifying experiment. But there is a lot of suspense – the scientists create Dren in secret and she is completely unpredictable. I can't be sure about it but I picked up “Alien” vibe few times – the weird creature, cat, secluded locations, I had a feeling it was a homage.

The film is consistent within it's own rules – there are no unnecessary scenes here, many things are connected, but the most interesting ones are the scenes which show Dren's psychology and the reasons for why it is shaped the way it is. It was very interesting for me to determine which part was more dominant in Dren – animal or human. After all, she mirrors the same problems Elsa had, she behave much like human at stages of childhood and teenage years. The creature, because of the rich background given to her and actress's skills gains viewer sympathy, which is exactly why the ending and last 10 minutes of the movie are so weak.

For most of the film it's very decent story, with original scenes and complicated relations between characters. But in last 10 minutes the movie, for reason unknown to me, it turns into gore horror, which was totally unnecessary. Yes, it's consisted with what was stated before in the movie, but it's still not enough. It would still be all right if the director created some sort of original ending, not the ultimate cliche I saw at least in 10 other films.

“Splice” is an interesting movie, but it could have been so much better. But it's definitely worth watching for performances, CGI and the various reactions you will have during the movie – laughter, thrill maybe even you'll jump on your seat few times. It's not the movie for everyone, but given that I'm not a fan of the genre and I still enjoyed it, I guess average viewer won't be disappointed..


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