a review by Darby O’Gill

Congratulations, it’s a girl… Well, sort of. It’s more like a mix of human and animal DNA, but you can just call her Dren. Unlike most sci-fi thrillers, Splice is a very real, all be it maybe too real, look at the world of genetic engineering. It’s not too hard to believe that this could very well be happening in a lab somewhere right now. Director Vincenzo Natali, best know for the Cube, brings an unusual look and feel to the film, but at the same time that could be the down fall of the movie. The pacing of the movie seems off through out, but the last quarter of the film seems extremely out of place. I might be getting ahead of myself, let me back up a bit.

In Splice, two young scientists who are the poster children for the future of bioengineering, have created a new living organism, and would like to introduce human DNA into the mix. But when a presentation goes horribly wrong, not only do they find themselves in danger of losing their careers, but also the project’s funding. Needing to prove their theories are correct, they find themselves forced to step-up their experiment to the next level even though they were clearly told not to. I know, so far this doesn’t sound like anything new, but the thing that makes Splice so different from other films like this, is its interaction with the material. Unlike most stories of this nature, Splice takes a more honest look at the moral and ethical decisions being made during the experiment, and believe me this movie is going to go places you would never imagine. On top of that, the underlining relationship of Clive and Elsa (Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley) and their own individual reasons for continuing the experiment, does help to bring the movie to the next level. This brings me back to my first point, which is that this film really doesn’t know what kind of movie it wants to be. At one point it’s a relationship drama, then it’s a suspense thriller, and next thing you know it’s a full blown creature feature. Now, don’t let this give you the wrong idea, the movie is really good, it just never quite feels right. And the slow pace of the movie only makes you notice it that much more. The one thing that does work in Splice is its amazingly realistic special effects. With very little CGI, the old school mix of make-up and practical effects, is such a breath of fresh air. Overall it might not be the best that it could be, but its way better than Paranormal Activity, and well worth checking out.