Saturday, June 5, 2010


     With the recent controversy over genetic engineering, cloning, and stem cells in recent years its time for Horror/Sci-Fi to address the issue in its own twisted way! "Splice" is a new disturbing look into science gone wrong, in the style of "Frankenstein/Dr. Moreau" and "Species" (1995). Artist turned director Vincenzo Natali ("Cube" (1997) brings a new vision of horror dealing with the themes of gene splicing and animal-human hybrids. Elsa Kast (Sarah Polley) and Clive Nicoli (Adrian Brody) are a couple of biochemist/scientists, also romantically involved, who have been developing genetically engineered organisms for use in pharmaceutical research. In defiance of their corporate controlled company whose sole purpose is profit, they take it upon themselves to create a human-animal hybrid, i.e. 'Dren' (Delphine Chanéac)! With bizarre features and animal-like legs and a tail containing a deadly scorpion like stinger, Dren starts out as a deformed, uncontrollable creature. But as her surrogate mother Elsa grows attached to her and continues to hide and raise it in secret despite Clive's growing ethical and legal concerns. Soon Dren grows up into a oddly beautiful but extremely dangerous creature and soon becomes sexually attracted to Clive and even grows in hostility towards Elsa, who then decides to try to destroy her!
    Testing the limits of the power of science, ethics, and morality "Splice" is an intense and disturbing experience. Like a modern day Frankenstein's monster (or Bride of...),  Dren is the newest in a long line of femme fatales along the lines of Sil (Natasha Henstridge) in "Species" is both strangely sexy and deadly. Delphine Chaneac is truly a unique beauty and had the perfect look to play this part-beauty/part-beast. Coincidentally, the young French actress doesn't speak English, although unnecessary in the movie as Dren only speaks in animal-like purrs and squeaks. Director Guillermo Del Toro is an executive producer for this movie and you can see some of his influence and disturbing vision in the imagery. The oddest part of the movie comes from it's very human duo of Adrian Brody and Sarah Polley, while both great actors, they make somewhat of an uneasy couple as their sex-life is threatened by the creation of Dren, however has very little effect since a lot of their chemistry on-screen seems forced. Also Brody's and Polley's bizarre wardrobe gives the film kind of a near-future feel or is it they just have weird taste in clothing! Sarah Polley's character of Elsa also seems to have the most issues in the film as it is alluded to that her character had a very strange childhood. As the couple bring Dren to raise her in Elsa's mothers farm/barn she reveals that she was not allowed to have dolls or even make-up growing up and when we see her old room, it is a small, almost prison-cell like, with the bed on the floor, one chair and a bucket! (Go figure?) The movie is full of delightfully disgusting and gory moments along with a TON of sex and frontal nudity (mostly Delphine Chaneac)! I found this movie to be interesting and very intense at moments but I couldn't get scenes of "Species" out of my head as it seemed very similar in many ways, but still very exciting with an impressive and really twisted twist-ending!
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