Thursday, June 3, 2010

Review: Splice

Grade: B

Two young rebellious scientists, Elsa and Clive, have been working hard for years creating new species by genetically splicing together the DNA of multiple organisms. The company that the two scientist work for are extremely interested in the creatures as they produce a protein used in farming and many other things. Elsa and Clive want to take the experiments to the next level by splicing human DNA into the creations as it could help them cure many diseases. The company, however, finds that to be too morally questionable and instead shut down their research so they can harvest the protein out of the existing creatures. In an act of defiance, Elsa and Clive decide to secretly make the creature with human DNA anyway. Never meant to go full term, the creature is “born” early and continues to grow and develop rapidly. Now, the creature looks like a beautiful young girl and is very intelligent. But as she continues to evolve she becomes tired of being locked up all the time and begins to act out in increasingly violent ways.

This movie actually took me by surprise. I didn’t have any real expectations for it but it turned out to be pretty enjoyable. This movie is essentially a modern take of the story of “The Island of Dr. Moreau” with some Frankenstein themes thrown in. Dren, the creature, was created by combining the genes of multiple organisms with the DNA of a human. Clive, played by Adrian Brody (The Brothers Bloom, King Kong), struggles at the beginning of the film and wants to kill the creature as he feels it never really should have existed and if anybody found out it does exist, they would probably go to jail. Elsa, played by Sarah Polley (Dawn of the Dead, TV’s John Adams), bonds with the creature instantly and almost starts treating Dren as though she were her daughter.

Here’s the thing about this movie though, I have a very hard time classifying it as a horror. I would say it’s more of a sci-fi movie with some suspenseful moments towards the end. The whole movie is more of a character study of Clive and Elsa, that Brody and Polley did a great job with, and it shows their bond with this creature, Dren. And Dren is a character all herself. She can’t speak but she emotes really well and you can see her longing to learn more about the world that she is being kept from. The special effects in this movie are really good, Dren has odd kangaroo-esque legs, a tail and her eyes are pretty far apart and it all looks extremely realistic.

The movie is also pretty funny, where it shouldn’t be. There are some scenes that are supposed to be taken seriously, I think, but it just comes off as comical. Not to mention that some pretty messed up stuff happens in this movie, not horror-wise, just plain messed up that raises some moral questions and some debate as to what it all means. I wish I could say more but I’ll let you go see the movie and judge for yourself when you see the scenes I’m talking about.

Splice is actually pretty enjoyable and if you like sci-fi “Island of Dr. Moreau” type stuff than this movie is worth checking out at some point. If you are looking for a scary horror movie, like this has been advertised as, this just isn’t that movie. In my opinion, the only stuff that could be construed as scary happens in the last 10-15 minutes of the movie.

Great quote: “Cloning humans is illegal, this won’t be human, not entirely.”

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