Jun 7 2010


This weekend we went to see Vincenzo Natali’s sci-fi horror hybrid, “Splice” (2010).  The movie was produced by Guillermo del Toro and stars Adrian Brody and Sarah Polley as geneticists and Delphine Chanéac as Dren, the monster. The movie is yet another remake of Frankenstein (maybe with a little Left Hand of Darkness thrown in)… and not a very good one at that. There are two scientists instead of one. The scientists use genetics instead of alchemy. The monster is female instead of male. But beneath it all, the story is about researchers who decide to make a human-like hybrid using multiple genomic sequences, the amazing result of their haphazard efforts, and their inability to cope with the resulting sentient creature. As Frankenstein’s monster was rejected by Victor, Dren is treated like an abomination and shielded from the world.

Not everything about the movie sucked. It actually started pretty good. The acting was good (given what they had to work with). The resulting “monster” looked like it had stepped out of the video-game Half-Life or possibly the Skyrealms of Jorune. The animation was good (not fantastic, but good… no real CGI innovations here). Dren’s early reactions were interesting (observing things monocularly always looks odd). It looked like all the elements were there for an enjoyable, if not good movie. Then, things, changed.

Maybe things changed before I realized it. Maybe I “accepted” too many leaps (logic, story, believability) before realizing that the whole story was silly. It could have been the ability to knit together the DNA of several animals into a viable chimera without first amassing a bloody pile of horrific miscarriages… It could have the strange morphological changes (eyes migrated from the side of her head) in Dren as she grew to accommodate the actress that played the final creature… It could have been the anatomical “surprises” evident in Dren (and her slug precursors Fred & Ginger) despite being subject to x-rays, MRIs, &c… There were a number of problems and most were evident DURING the movie… not as “way-homers“. Perhaps my biggest complaint was the ending. How does a movie with a good amount of promise turn into a B horror movie? The movie should have ended with the vat… As the scientists shut the barn door, believing the monster to be vanquished, the camera should have panned down through the murky liquid and found eggs. I know that sounds a little “Species” (1995), but it would have been better than the Bat Boy ending that we got. In summary, the slugs were best part of the movie.

“Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.” – Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde

2.5 out of 5