The most bizarre mainstream movie in recent memory?
Splice film poster

Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) are scientists at the forefront of genetic engineering and their experimental breakthrough results in Dren; a biologically unclassified creature whose evolution quickly morphs from plucked chicken to almost human via Benjamin Button. Dren symbolically fills the couple’s childless existence but their conflicted emotions become ever more complex as Dren gains a threatening sense of independence.

Splice isn’t afraid to provoke the moral implications of our possible scientific future, even if the biowaffle masks what is essentially a contemporary updating of Bride of Frankenstein. The couple’s relationship is tested by some fascinating dilemmas born from the dangers of genetic manipulation, while the photography peaks with an evocative, if underutilised, sense of nausea.

Unfortunately, after such a promising launch, Splice goes spectacularly astray. The concept is pushed to its furthest extreme, resulting in scenes theoretically intriguing but, in practice, hilariously misjudged. Bewilderment then yields to regimented genre clichés. The patronage of Guillermo del Toro delivers originality as ever and Splice is certainly enchanting - that enchantment, however, is strictly of the WTF?! variety. Splice’s own DNA is 30% intelligent ethics, 10% ludicrous brilliance and 60% crazy bullshit.


Words by Ben Hopkins

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