Director: Vincenzo Natali Release date: 23/07/10 Link: IMDB Splice is about a couple, Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley), both scientists working together on the splicing of animal genes, achieve a considerable breakthrough with Ginger and Fred, a pair of purpose-bred creatures of an entirely new species. Enamoured with their own newfound success and celebrity status, the couple approach the company boss (Simona Maicanescu) for permission to take the experiment to the next level – human/animal gene splicing, which they believe could lead to a cure for genetic diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and even some forms of cancer. The boss doesn’t go for it, though. She decides that the probable controversy surrounding such experiments wouldn’t be worth it. Understandably pissed off, Clive and Elsa go behind the company’s back and spend after-hours in the lab, working on creating a human/animal hybrid embryo. They’re eventual success results in a weird, humanoid creature (played variously by Abigail Chu and Delphine Chanéac). She’s a female who seems to have a near-human personality and abnormally high intelligence. The pair at first plan to study and observe her, but scientific detachment soon evaporates as the couple grow emotionally attached to her. They start treating her less as a subject, more as a daughter, and name her Dren. Unfortunately, her rapidly accelerated growth rate causes Dren to reach the awkward stages of growing up rather sooner than she or they are ready... It’s an interesting horror/sci-fi movie because it doesn’t go the slasher route; instead, it focuses on the worrying, twisted aspect of the couple’s relationship with their adoptive daughter, and her reciprocated feelings for them. As a longstanding David Cronenberg fan, I appreciate that; although in some ways the obvious comparison is unfortunate because it brings into focus Splice's almost total lack of atmosphere. Whereas films like Shivers or The Brood feel bleak and oppressive in a way that fits their respective subject matters, the overall tone of Splice is light, sometimes even cute. It's also, during several unfortunate moments, unintentionally funny. But the biggest problem, the one that hurts the movie the most, is that its two lead characters never feel real. This is mainly because of the script, which is otherwise fine but which can't seem to get a handle on its protagonists; quite often they seem less like flawed, psychologically troubled people, and more like a pair of complete morons. I know that people who are smart in some respects are often much less so in others, but I have a very hard time believing that two genius-level scientists could possibly be as habitually dense as these two. This lack of character credibility kills the film, and it’s a real shame because if not for that, it would be exactly the sort of intelligent, ideas-driven, dangerous film movie-goers need to see more of. To its credit, it's not afraid to follow through on its more perverted ideas, which later in leads to some uncomfortable scenes. I suppose I even enjoyed Splice, to some extent; despite the ever-present sense of disappointment, it’s often quite entertaining, and never boring. I just wish a lot more work had been put into that script. Photobucket