It’s been a while since we had a smart sci-fi horror film. You know, one that isn’t just a hack n’slash gore film in the guise of a science fiction premise. The last great science fiction film I saw was Moon, last summer. Now, although I think that is better, Splice is definitely a smart sci-fi film made for an adult audience. No, please don’t take your kids to this one.
It’s been a while since we had a smart sci-fi horror film. You know, one that isn’t just a hack n’slash gore film in the guise of a science fiction premise. The last great science fiction film I saw was Moon, last summer. Now, although I think that is better, Splice is definitely a smart sci-fi film made for an adult audience. No, please don’t take your kids to this one. Unless you want to spend the next couple weeks or so fielding questions about things you aren’t even sure of yourself. Unless you are a genetic scientist. Then you’re fine.
Clive Nicoli and Elsa Kast (Adrian Brody and Sarah Polley), are two rather rebellious scientists working on cutting edge genetic research. they’re splicing DNA of various animals to make weird creatures and use various chemicals made by them to hopefully make drugs to help people. When they’re told to stop splicing and start researching these chemicals, they’re pretty upset. So they decide that because they’re so close to something amazing, they decide to secretly do one last test using human DNA. The results are beautiful, and complicated, to say the least.
Now, first off, yes, there are some minor holes here. Granted, I’m not a super genius scientist so I can’t verify whether some of the characteristics exhibited by the things they create are truly possible, but there is some question involved. However, being science fiction, you find yourself suspending your disbelief. And frankly, it’s not a huge stretch. It’s certainly not glaring, but I thought about it later.
Beyond that point, this is a very thought-provoking and interesting film. Lots of issues regarding cloning, scientific research involving human DNA, humans playing God, and also issues of parenting, responsibility and emotional connection versus scientific detachment. Yeah, there’s a lot going on here. But they manage to steer it deftly through a story of these married scientists, who we see as professionals, but at the same time, both very human. Inescapably so.
The acting is great, the effects are rather excellent, and the female creature, Dren, played by Delphine Chaneac, is eminently watchable. She is both naive and sexy all at once. Again, leave your kids at home for this one or you’ll also be spending endless hours trying to explain to them why “that lady was on top of that man”, and “why was that creature on top of that woman”? This is definitely a grown-up film, and I mean grown-up mentally, mostly. No adolescent-minded frat boy types need apply. And yet, ironically, that is the kind of geek this movie might most appeal to, and very well be aimed at, based on the genre. Oh, well. The theater could be full of giggling science nerds that just happen to understand all of the science involved, but none of the intimate human interaction. Anybody for a big cup of irony?
Splice is a good film for those fans of the science fiction/horror genre. It’s not perfect, but I can definitely recommend it.
— Neil T. Weakley, your average movie goer, happy to see a good film from this genre. And no, I was NOT giggling while watching this.