Splice – Review


Seeing this film is definitely not a mistake…

Should we be able to clone humans in order to help find cures for diseases, and other illnesses that plague our species? This is a question that’s been debated for as long as the ability to clone has been available. The main argument against it is that the clone becomes a human life, it isn’t just an incubator for human organs, but a living, breathing person with thoughts and feelings of their own; and the moral choices about how it should be treated as opposed to those who were born naturally commence.

In Splice, cutting-edge scientists Clive Nicoli (Adrien Brody) and Elsa Kast (Sarah Polley) find themselves facing this exact argument upon entering a meeting and bringing up the topic of cloning human DNA with their financial backers. After showing extremely positive results in their works of splicing various animal DNA together in order to create new species in which they can harvest proteins to help cure diseases and ailments, the two ask for funding to take the next step: splicing human DNA in with the animal DNA. This is a bit too ambiguous to their backers, who own the rights to all their work and want to focus on getting certain enzymes and proteins from the new species in order to get them onto store shelves get some money coming in.

Not happy by the thought of spending the next five years of their lives at a scientific standstill, the two decide to move forward on their own without the knowledge or consent of their parent company or coworkers. Locked away in the labs, the two work tediously and find a way to make a successful splice of human DNA and animal DNA. Elsa then takes it upon herself to enter the labs and place the seed in an embryo, stating that it’s just for their knowledge to see if their discovery was viable, and that they wouldn’t allow the project to be carried to full term.

Not much time passes before their artificial birthing chamber is sending out alerts that something is wrong, and Clive and Elsa find themselves in the awkward position of needing to help birth this creature they hadn’t planned to let get to this point. In the middle of a sleepless night, Clive, realizing more and more what a mistake they’ve made, comes to the conclusion that the creature must be destroyed.

Upon entering the lab, Elsa discovers that the creature is no longer moving, and it isn’t until she turns it around that she sees what came out of the chamber was just a cocoon of sorts. She soon finds herself face to face with a cute, small creature with two legs, no arms. Clive’s first reaction is to kill it, as it’s no doubt dangerous, while Elsa pushes more towards learning from it, as they’ve already come this far so what could possibly go wrong.

They soon realize that the female creature, which they name Dren, grows at an expeditious rate outside of the womb, days in her life going by in minutes of ours. This excites Elsa, who explains to Clive that they can watch and study her entire life cycle without fearing the repercussions of their work, as Dren won’t be around long enough to cause moral implications. Though as Dren grows into a woman, her feelings, and primal instincts kick into overdrive, proving her to be far beyond the harmless science project she was once seen as.

Director Vincenzo Natali (Cube, Cypher) does a fantastic job of pulling this story together, and really draws the audience into this tale of right and wrong. With this being his first foray into the world of CGI, I can only say that his future is as bright as he chooses it to be, as the work done here is amazing. We literally see Dren grow from a small child, all the way to adulthood, and while actors do fill the shoes (Abigail Chu as Child Dren, and Delphine Chaneac as Adult Dren), CGI also plays a great part in this. Sure, it doesn’t hurt to have Guillermo del Toro as your executive producer in this instance, but still, hats off to Natali and his work here, as bad CGI can easily take the audience out of an otherwise enthralling moment.

The acting in Splice is also above par, as Brody and Polley both play their parts so well that while their characters aren’t incredibly deep, what they do with what they are given makes their characters and the chemistry between them all the more stronger, and believable. Chu is great as Child Dren, however, Chaneac’s body language, and actions as Dren when she hits womanhood really bring the character to life.

With a lesser director, bad CGI or actors that couldn’t add that next level of depth to their work, Splice is a film that could have easily fallen flat. It’s also advertised as that looks to be a creature feature, yet is much more than that. Splice is an intense science fiction film that holds nothing back, pushes the boundaries, and knows just when and how to hit the ‘fear’ button. It will no doubt be lost in a summer of blockbusters, which is a shame, because this is the type of originality that people crave and say Hollywood never delivers.

Director: Vincenzo Natali
Notable Cast: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chaneac
Writer(s): Vincenzo Natali & Antoinette Terry Bryant & Doug Taylor

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