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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Splice (2009) - Horror Sci-Fi Monster

Splice (2009) - Putting off seeing films can be a good thing, with time their is also a certain perspective gained. Early reviews of Splice were decent with but not great, and unfortunately it was impossible not to hear the details before seeing this film. Still the movie is 74% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes. I was interested in seeing it in theaters but you know, sometimes you just can't get out to see everything you want to see. Recently picking it off of On Demand on comcast gave me a chance to see if the film was worth some of the very positives reviews it got or was it was the horrid piece of crap that audiences seemed to be saying. To qualify I read a bunch of early reviews where the author of the review talked about how darkly disturbing the film is, how he or she was enthralled while the audience they were seeing it with were hooting and hollering at the rediculousness of the film. I saw several reviews with this same theme, and then reading reviews written months after it was release, more talk about how audiences trashed the film. So is it a piece of genre art that only true fans can like, but general audience think is bad? Time to find out.
First the description of the film, two hot shot genetic scientist do the unthinkable, they create lifeforms from gene splicing. Giant maggots that produce a certain protein to be more precise. They want to more forward capitalizing on this new technology, but the corporate bosses want to go cautiously. Its not that the corporation has ethical reasons, its just they want to monetize what has already been created. In fact ethics never really enters the film although it is referenced by characters. This is the mad scientist as in, Frankenstien movie, so we sort of know what will happen at this point. Of course they need to have an "Its Alive!" moment. Also with mad scientists the ethics of "could we" versus "should we" is firmly planted in moving forward. So using her own DNA, Elsa Kast (Sarah Polley) creates Dren (Delphine Chaeac), a creature not entirely human. It is important to note that at this point, anyone who has any kind of love or even like of science will be pulled out of the film. For us this film becomes just another gimmic and soret of B-movie science wanna be. The problem is that if you are a brilliant scientist as or team is with Kast and Clive Nicoli (Adrien Brody) then you just don't throw genes together and wait to see what you are going to get. It is not a mix and match and then see if you being is mostly or partly human. you will want to know, and not move forward until you know exactly what the expected outcome will be. Just throwing in frog dna sequences might be good enough for an action adventure film like Jurrasic Park but for a science fiction film, not so much. This may be the reason it was heavily advertized as a horror film, because they knew the science film premise would not hold together. So the deed is done and a creature starts growing, we get to see the development and be as amazed as our science team is on what develops, again they should already know what is going to come but seem amazed when it has funny legs and likes candy. Oh and what fucking scientist would just give the damn creature candies? What if it died from them?
When Dren grows into a semi female-ish being with funny legs the couple begin to see that working right under the noses of their company can only lead to trouble so they need a new place for Dren. Luckily the script writer/director (Vincenzo Natali) rescues them with a farm nobody ever mentioned and the Brody character never knew Kast had inherited even though they appear to be intimately involved in a long term relationship. The self concious reference makes it okay I guess? Really?
Off to the location where things can go horribly wrong, since the psuedoscience is done now the the script veers into personal motivation and we learn about Elsa's need for a child and how her damaging childhood fed into the creation of Dren. It is done as a reveal after we see her play Mom with the creature and loose all perspective as a scientist. She is the mother figure and it is her child, while all along the way Clive is like, "What the fuck we have to end this shit, this is crazy." and Elsa is like "Oh look at the little cutie, can't we keep her for just a bit longer, she's soooo cute." Okay I might be paraphrasing there but hey its close.
When Clive heads out to the barn to deal with Dren by himself things go horribly wrong. Maybe all father figures in movies are evil. Maybe because Dren is adult looking, with breasts but for some reason the Father figure, Clive thinks fucking the creature may be a way to deal with his troubles in his relationship with Elsa. Isn't this what all adopting Fathers do? So Brody goes full tilt on little Dren climaxing just prior to Elsa walking in the door. Yes it is what it looked like and things just spiral from there. Now I am no expert but I would say it is pretty messed up to screw the creature you brought into the world through genetic manipulation. I think Clive had that same feeling and probably felt really off the hook when they find Dren apparently dead in the water tub in the barn. He didn't get to say it to Elsa but I am sure he was thinking. "Okay, I know that was really fucked up but no one else needs to know about that right Elsa, baby." So they bury their problem but not their problems. Only one thing wrong with this, just like they introduced earlier in the film with the maggots, they both turned male and got aggressive. Dren sort of turns to Dan changing from a female to a male. Again let me state that there is no way this could have happened without scientist knowing the possibility was there. How can you combine genes without a basic understanding of chromosomes?
Male creature does what I guess all guys do and rapes Elsa and then comes to a very untimely death. Enough plot, what the fuck kind of fucked up head thought to make the males in this such fucking dickwads? Clive had sex with his non human child and then when that creature, probably out of shame changed into a male then raped its Mother? Hello what kind of freaking psychosis does this writer have? Elsa is no prize either, letting her personal life drive her experimentation but so afraid of intimacy that she can't have a baby, she has to create it. This bit of melodrama was metered out for us in such a soap opera way.
Now it is seeming like I hated this movie, which is not true. I hated alot about this film and wished it was better constructed. As a B-Movie it is decent entertainment, meant to be ridiculed as it is being viewed. As a serious attempt as a science fiction film it is not my cup of tea.
Rating (4.6) 5.0 and up are recommended In the Zombiegrrlz system, Rent it if you need to see it.

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