Director: Vincenzo Natali
Stars: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chaneac
Review by Brian M. Sammons
When this movie came out to theaters I was really upset. Not because it was bad. On the contrary I liked it a lot. No, I was mad because not a lot of people went to see it which amazed the hell out of me. Horror, and this movie is as much a horror movie as it is a sci-fi movie, is always a much loved, and widely enjoyed genre, and all that any horror fan has been saying for years and years, myself included, is “man, I am sick of the remakes, I wish Hollywood would give us something new.” Well with Splice they did just that, and yet the vast majority of horrorheads couldn’t be bothered to see and support a new film.
Way to reinforce the idea by the moviemaking bean counters that fright fans are idiots that don’t care about good, or new, or fresh takes on things if they are outside of the norm. Really, think about that the next time you’re crying about the latest remake of an 80s classic horror movie or the next insipid Saw sequel. If all you’re willing to eat is crap, don’t be surprised if that’s all your fed.
Ok, that little bit of soapbox grandstanding out of the way, let’s get to the review.
Splice is the story of Frankenstein for the modern age with gene splicing taking the place of corpse stitching and lightening. Adrien and Sarah play a superstar scientist couple on the verge of making new life with the DNA of various animals combined with that from a human, only to be blocked by a company looking to avoid the moral outrage that such human cloning would no doubt bring out. So the driven couple do what any good mad scientists would do, they go ahead and do the splicing on their own.
The result is a little slug-like thing called Dren who continues to metamorphosis as it grows at an accelerated rate. The slug becomes a two-legged thing, which becomes an odd-looking, sort of, kind of human girl with a tail, to a more human looking, oddly hot young bald woman also with a tail and a few other … added accessories.
All of the Frankenstein tropes are brought out for this movie. The question of who is the monster, the mad scientist or the thing he (in this case, they) created is the foremost theme. Seeing the world through new, alien eyes; what makes something human; the nature of various desires; and other familiar topics are also covered, and thankfully they are handled well. Additionally, both Brody and Polley do fine acting jobs and the direction by Vincenzo Natali of Cube fame is also well done so watching this movie is never a chore. Wish I could say that about more films. Also the CGI is top notch and in a movie that relies so heavily on computer generated images, especially early on when Dren is more critter than hot cutie, that is vital.
Unfortunately, the Blu-ray that we are given of this pretty darn good movie was treated with the same respect by Warner Brothers as the film was by horror fans when it was in the theaters. There is only one special feature and that’s a 35 minute behind the scenes/making of featurette. There’s not even a trailer. While I really dug this sci-fi flavored thriller, I do have to ask WB what the hell were they thinking releasing such a bare bones disc.
Despite this BD being as bare as Old Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, the most important part of it, the actual film, is reason alone for getting this movie. Especially if you didn’t go see it at the theater. Do yourself a favor and give something new a try. Who knows, you just might like it.