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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Film Review: Splice

Splice (2010)
Director: Vincenzo Natali
Writers: Vincenzo Natali, Antoinette Terry Bryant, and Doug Taylor
Cast: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, and Delphine Chanéac
Grade: B

Creature features tend to be cautionary tales: "Don't fuck with science because it will fuck with you."

It's worrying to see such a regressive message toward technology as a trope in horror sci-fi films, but honestly, it works.

fully beautifully exploits common and misunderstood fears of cloning and stem cell research for a compelling sci-fi drama.

Our heroes are Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley, a scientist power couple. Their discoveries include slug-hybrids which make moist, gushing sounds whenever on-screen.

In their world, Brody and Polley are so hip and cool, they hang posters of anime characters on their walls, listen to heavy metal and jazz, and have made it onto the cover of Wired.

These character flourishes are a nice deviation from the stuffy scientist archetype. They also confirm that Brody and Polley's characters, despite their breakthroughs, still have a very juvenile attitude toward life.

Their teenage personas are challenged when they introduce a third character into their life, a creature far more complex than a meaty, gooshy slug.

Pieced together from human and animal DNA, the CG and puppet rendered monster is a lovely young woman with a bisected head, goat legs, and a tail. It grows quickly, a child maturing into the attractive Delphine Chanéac.

The conflict comes when Dren, as they name the creature, becomes resentful of her adoptive parents and eventually tries to fly the coop. Literally.

This thoughtful film about the uneasy transition of parenthood becomes a standard horror movie by its third act.

Splice's careful drama falls apart as it becomes the very creep-fest its posters promise it to be. Clunky dialogue becomes far more jarring as the film draws to a close.

But the thoughtful build-up in the first two-thirds of the movie are still with worth the price of admission.

Brody's traditionally quiet performance shows a man struggling to juggle responsibilities. Polley threatens to become a cinema scream queen during the first part of the film but finally settles on a heart-rending performance where her emotions lurk just beneath her skin.

Both they and Chanéac give excellent performances, even if they are stuck in a world where scientific advancements only mean trouble.


Dezmond Mitchell said...

Sweet Review I didn't know this movie was out yet. = )

Anonymous said...

I watch last night, and I love ever moment of it.

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