Monday, 17 July 2017

Now Watching: Splice

Splice is a sci-fi horror film directed by Vincenzo Natali. It tells the story of two hilariously inept scientists – Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley). Clive and Elsa create genetic hybrids for medical experimentation and exploitation, but when their corporate overlords threaten to derail their plans to introduce human DNA into the mix, they decide to do it anyway. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?

To be fair, Clive actually says this, so at least the movie is somewhat self-aware. Their creation is kept a secret from their boss (Rodney McKay) and their colleagues, despite several dangerous situations that might cause harm to their creation, to themselves or to any poor f**k who wanders in by mistake. They name their creation Dren, which is also the slang for ‘shit’ in Farscape, so that kept me rather amused.

The film doesn’t get off to the greatest start with a lame SCIENCE MONTAGE as they attempt to add human DNA into their genetic cocktail. Several attempts fail for some unknown reason, before one attempt succeeds – for some unknown reason. They could have just had the first attempt succeed and not wasted so much of my time, but I guess we had to see them doing SCIENCE.

Eh, whatever. They succeed because the plot needs to move forward, and they keep being thick because the plot . . . actually the plot doesn’t really move much beyond this. Dren is created, we see her develop, and things just kind of meander along for the next 50 minutes or so.

Though the plot doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, Splice does improve during this second act as we see Dren learn, evolve and grow. Delphine Chanéac, who plays the now ‘adult’ Dren brings a little life and personality to the role, which is more than can be said of Brody or Polley, who put in maybe . . . 40% effort? Or is that too generous? Seriously, some of their line delivery is terrible and hilarious.

In a shocking turn of events, things GO WRONG, although the film spoils its own ‘twist’ about 15 minutes before it occurs so it’s not exactly a surprise when it happens. The final act of Splice is a complete f**king mess. Despite a shoddy start, things do improve during the second act, but everything goes to garbage in the third. It gets dumb, so dumb that it’s embarrassing to watch.

By the time the credits roll you’ll just want to say ‘f**k you, Splice, you really wasted my time’. It’s disappointing, because there is some promise not only in the concept, but within the second act. Unfortunately, it’s entirely squandered and then destroyed by the third.

There’s potential with a sub-plot about Elsa’s mother and how Elsa was treated as a child – which in turn feeds into her treatment of Dren. Unresolved feelings, childhood trauma, the role of the Mother etc, etc . . . but it’s not properly incorporated or explored, nor does it lead anywhere.

Also not explored are the moral implications of their actions, so if you’re looking for a more thoughtful examination of ‘playing God’ then you won’t find it here. Instead, Splice just turns into a shitty monster movie with a poorly executed and stupid ending. Not recommended.


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