Splice had my interest right away, it had an interesting story and capable actors. The positive reviews rolled in, and I was really looking forward to checking this one out. What I hadn’t counted on was how much I would love this film! This easily stands in the top two first time horror watches for October, I was really blown away by this film. It is always refreshing to see something different in the horror genre, this isn’t your typical horror film either. It’s nice to see something unique, that is not a remake or a sequel (or prequel). Splice tells the story of two young scientists Elsa (Sarah Polley) and Clive (Adrien Brody) who are part taking in groundbreaking research, splicing the DNA of several organisms to make something new. Their research with splicing is to create new creatures which will have medical benefits, however their employers have halted their current project. Instead of focusing on what they already have, they decide to create something new again, but this time splicing with human DNA. The result is Dren, a unique creature which turns out to be anything but what they were expecting.
The film explores the possibility of creating new creatures and the good and bad elements that can come from it. Should we be playing God? Well after seeing this film, I certainly have my doubts, especially when it has been done so carelessly. And that is exactly what they have done with Dren, what started out as something that was meant to die, the unexpected speed of its growth allowed it to be born. Considering the position that Elsa and Clive were in with their current project getting stopped and results being ordered by way of fast tracking, they felt the need to continue. I can understand that, but their need to continue their work, and so fast was the major problem with creating Dren. It was done in such a way they had no idea what they were doing, it was careless. But that was the point, if this were a real situation, and something these scientists were so passionate about was suddenly stopped, I can imagine they’d do what they had to to keep it going. But is there a right way to go about it? Perhaps there is, but you can’t move forward without taking risks. This film had me thinking a lot about their situation, I liked the characters, but seeing them get in over their head was not all that pleasant. Especially when they should have been monitoring the creatures they had already created, and then they would have been able to predict what could have been a possible outcome with Dren. It is like when you get a shiny new toy to play with, you forget about other things, this was the same thing. The story progresses from different stages in Dren’s life span, as she ages quickly. I really liked this, and the different emotions and states that Elsa and Clive go through regarding Dren were mostly quite realistic. In doing what they had done, it is easy to get attached like Elsa does, Clive naturally has his doubts but slowly warms up to Dren. The way it all plays out though is unexpected and horrific, but as I mentioned earlier with the careless way they created Dren, should have been expecting the unexpected.
The central performances were all fantastic, Sarah Polley never gives a bad performance. I dare you to find a film where she is anything but fantastic. She holds her own here, and she is mostly quite a sympathetic character, I believed her bond with Dren and the relationship they formed. Her actions seemed quite natural given the situation and Polley definitely helped all that. She took what could have been a bland character and turned her into something real. Adrien Brody once again puts on a great performance, and his character certainly goes through a lot of changes. He really made me buy how he felt, and how the situations he was in changed his feelings towards Dren. He had some tough scenes, but he pulled them off quite well, despite a bit of a weak moment with the script he made it work. The two main actresses that played Dren Abigail Chau (as a child) and Delphine Chaneac (as adult Dren) were both breathtaking. While there was a lot of CG to Dren, they definitely made her into a 3 dimensional character, where she easily could have been so flat. They both created a real creature, with real reactions to her situations. Dren goes through so much change in her short life, they added real emotion to her. It was pretty amazing to see, and certainly two performances I wont soon forget.
If there was anything wrong with this film, it was solely be that it was so rich with story and plots that it could have been fleshed out a bit more in regards to Dren and her relationships with both Elsa and Clive. This is central to the main story, and I would have loved to have seen more of it. While certain things happen quickly, a few more scene’s showing that progression wouldn’t have hurt. Everything else though I loved, the story, the acting, the direction, it was all just so well done. Vincenzo Natali has crafted a great film, which works on so many levels. There is a lot that can be discussed in regards to this film, I think he opens up a lot of doors for that. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if Jurassic Park had an influence on this film (there are actually a few similarities). Taking something like splicing and making it into such an interesting film couldn’t have been easy, and everyone involved pulled it off. The CG too looked really good, while Fred and Ginger could have been a bit better the show belonged to Dren. She looked real, I believed she could have been a real creature, it was simply amazing. She was such a beautiful and unique looking creature, it was painful to see some of the changes she went through. I have seen some complaints about the ending, but those are the consequences of messing with something without knowing really what you are doing. I thought it was a natural progression if unexpected as well, I figured it could have gone a lot of different ways, but this really hit hard. I highly recommend Splice, as I said it is refreshing to see something different.
Splice was part of my Horror Films For October, you can find the entire list here.