Saturday, June 5, 2010
Folks, this was one of the best horror experiences that I had in a long time. It’s a big smack in the face to Platinum Dunes and their mediocre, poorly developed horror remakes. This is a film that is unique, original and extremely message driven… something that horror films lack nowadays. Splice is about a two lovebird scientists who create a new life form by combining the genes of several other life forms. The result is a shy and extremely misunderstood ‘creature’ named Dren whom they take in as their child, so to speak. The film then develops into a character study and how these two scientists interact with Dren (which is Nerd spelled backwards) as she grows on a rapid pace. I don’t know how else to explain the story but It’s provocative and very compelling. The film takes a very liberal view on the morality of cloning and abortions.
Before I even touch base with the subtext I want to state that this film is more or less of a drama as well as a horror. In fact, as an audience member I could relate to Dren in the sense of being misunderstood. I felt sorry for her because she is a ‘mistake’ and that she is some kind of new creature that doesn’t quite understand who she is. It’s chilling, haunting and very sad to see her try to except who she is and what the world is around her. In some scenes I actually wanted to shed a tear for her. The parents, Elsa and Clive (played wonderfully by Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody) are great as a couple and they feed off of each other. The chemistry between the three characters is bone chillingly fascinating and it’s almost as though you are observing them observing Dren.
As I sat there watching how Elsa and Clive care for Dren, while at the same time trying to hide her from society I could not help but think that it’s a great modern tale, or reworking, of the Frankenstein monster. Dren was created for the greater good but they ended up creating something that was misunderstood and mistaken as a monster and therefore she turned into a violent creature. It’s a tragic tale that really got to me. I even compared this to Cronenber’s The Fly in the sense that The Fly was a tragic villain. The most heartbreaking scene in the whole movie would probably be when Elsa interacts with the newborn baby and it’s so fascinating.
Splice is highly sex driven and those who have seen it will know about the certain scene between Dren and Clive, which was surprisingly not hammy or awkward. In the beginning few scenes we are introduced to Fred and Ginger, two masses of living tissue that were spliced from different genes and their body structure looks like that of a penis. It’s not shocking in any way that primal sex, procreation and primitive consummation is part of the motif of the film. The biggest theme in the movie is the issue of abortion and the morality of tampering with genetics to help mankind… or in other words, playing God. It’s executed quite well but it’s a tiring subject and I think that’s one of the problems of the film. It came out to late. These subjects have been debated countless times and personally it’s getting a little tiring but it’s still a great film with a great message.
Even the special effects are extremely well done in this movie and you almost see Dren as a complete physical character. Going from a fetus, to a newborn baby, to a little girl and then to a full grown woman… it’s truly captivating and how the effects looked and felt so real. Delphine Chanaec does a stellar performance of Dren and even though she doesn’t say anything, it’s easy to tell what’s going through her mind. It takes talent to convey good physical emotions and she pulls it off quite well.
There are also some flaws in the movie and they are mostly logical flaws as in how do they really get away doing an experiment like this in secrecy when there is no such thing as secrecy? Or simple questions like that, which I can understand some people might be a little baffled by it but if you are enthralled in the film and it’s characters, you’ll forget about it. Hell, even Elsa takes whole other character route in the third half of the movie and I was kind of baffled as to why she suddenly turned against Dren. It didn’t make sense and it took me away from her character a little. Though, Clive’s character arc was a little more predictable but still very enthralling.
Overall, I’ve said it over and over again in this review… Splice is one of the most compelling, touching, frightening film that I have seen and it puts the remakes in their place. It’s a film that’s about the characters, about Dren and does raise a lot of good ethical questions. Personally, it was the saddest film that I’ve seen so far but it keeps you on your seat with anticipation of what will happen next. Splice is a brilliantly haunting film that will keep you engaged in its storyline, despite some small flaws here and there. I strongly suggest this movie but be warned, it is also a heavy drama so don’t go in thinking that it will be good and creepy within the first minutes. But do yourself a favor and support originality and see this film.