Starring Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley. Directed by Vincenzo Natali. 104 minutes. 18A
Hmm. Odd. Interesting. Very interesting. Splice is a strange film. Its very hypothetical, as all sci-fi films are, but also very relevant and chilling in its possibilities.
Splice tells the story of two biochemists who are also a couple. Elsa Kast (Sarah Polley) and Clive Nicoli (Adrien Brody) are experimenting with the DNA of various animals in attempt to develop cures for diseases, including cancer. Along the way, they create two slug-like new lifeforms by mixing animal DNA. They name them Fred and Ginger. While they continue to study their mushy friends, they begin working on a side project, a side project that their company has forbidden them to work on and for obvious reasons. The couple combine the hybrid-animal DNA with human DNA to create yet another new creature. That’s when the lines between ethics, legalities and relationships become blurred and the mess begins to snowball.
Should this creature exist? Is this an experiment? Or has this become a relationship? Is this a being that needs to be loved? Or should this creature be killed? And where exactly did they cross the point of no return? These are all questions Splice asks and dances around but is never really meant to answer. It’s rather to get the audience thinking these things as Elsa and Clive come to terms with them.
The subject isn’t the only quirky part of this film, so are both the lead characters and their relationship. They’re obsessive, workaholic scientists with an undying love for each other. They like to eat candy and listen to heavy rock while they work, occasionally sprinkled with some lip action. In their own odd way, they seem like a modern fairytalesque couple.
By far the strangest parts in this film are the sex scenes. Without giving too much away, they are all very awkward and somehow wrong yet hard to turn away from. You want them to happen as much as you don’t want them to happen.
This film was also tagged as a horror but it’s not exactly. It does have many horror elements but only a very short portion of the film could actually be considered “horror.” Instead, the most horrifying thing about the film is the thought that scientists somewhere are creating new organisms. Sometimes they just die but other times they’re killed, loved, nurtured, cloned, bred… who really knows. It’s strange to think about that world you will probably never have access to.
That’s what makes this film so intriguing. It pulls you into a hypothetical world of genetic science and lets you explore, knowing that for now, you don’t have to venture into the real horrors of the biochemical world yourself. But it reminds you that they exist and may one day escape. A-
DVD EXTRAS: Featurette with Vincenzo Natali