Monday, April 25, 2011


(There are heavy spoilers in this review. There have to be.)

There are those who have suggested that Splice’s working title may have been Men Will Fuck Anything. I prefer to think of it as Poor Decision Making: The Movie. Yet whatever you want to call it, Splice is one of those rare and yes, somewhat wonderful movies that is absolutely dedicated to being as crazy as it absolutely can. Say what you will about it, but by the time it features two giant penis monsters having a knife fight which results in the front row of assembled glitterati being covered in gore and broken glass, Splice is not a movie that lacks the courage of its convictions. It’s serenely, jaw droppingly nuts, call it the Sci Fi Version of Springtime For Hitler.

The film follows Adrian Brody and Sarah Polley as two cocky scientists, who decide to splice human DNA into a hybrid clone. Then instead of destroying the results they keep the resulting clone and give it a dress. They engage in some of the least appealing movie sex I have ever seen and then raise the clone out at Polley’s old homestead, because these are all excellent ideas. Brody and Polley both do an excellent job keeping their characters real, through the increasingly ludicrous decisions that the script puts them through. Though I have to admit that Polley’s presence in this film is a complete mystery to me (Brody not so much, though a fine actor he’s never been one to turn down scripts for being “too weird”.) Polley acts so rarely nowadays I can’t help but wonder what made her choose this script? What made her turn to her agent and say “This movie in which I tie a monster to a table and then cut of its tail before I am incestuously raped by my winged clone daughter/son? I must do this.”

The secret to Splice is that it is a competent enough movie to go completely batshit. Any movie can flay about making a mess. What’s really impressive is a movie that has been specifically calculated to be as off putting as possible. Yet there are some fantastic things in the film. Take Dren herself, love the movie or hate it she is a great monster both in design and performance. She has the body of a human with the body language of an animal and a design that gets stranger, deeper and uncannier the more you look at it (Like the way the eyes and hands don’t strike you as odd until you realize there is no possible way they could ever exist on a living human being).

Splice is one of those movies that’s tough to recommend. I wouldn’t exactly call if a good movie, too much of the audience’s time is spent going “Oh. My. God.” For it to exactly qualify. Yet for the hardened genre fan looking for something a little (OK a lot) different, Splice is just the thing. Like the creature at its center Splice is a strange unlovely mutant. But man it’s really something to see.


Budd said...

It was an interesting movie and deeper than it is given credit for, but it had some amazing flaws. Totally set up for a sequel though.

le0pard13 said...

"It’s serenely, jaw droppingly nuts, call it the Sci Fi Version of Springtime For Hitler."

Love this line in your post, Bryce. You've nailed it again, my friend.

Ryan McNeil said...

I actually lost a bet recommending this film (A friend and I disagreed on whether a mutual friend would enjoy it...cost me $10 CDN).

I still say there is a lot of fun to be had in this film - the outcome of that stockholder meeting is a howl - but think it's ultimately a well-made B movie with A movie production values.

That said, I can still close my eyes and hear the restlessness of my fellow theatre-goers.

As for Polley's involvement, it's a Canadian film so someone higher up might have appealed to her nationalism.

Great post!

Nine-Fingered Menace said...

I saw this in the theater for a friend's birthday. It really made me squirm throughout, on several levels. Out of curiosity, has anyone else noticed how much Dren looks like an angel the more prominant her mutations become? By the way, I thought she was hot.

The Goodkind said...

Well, I'm sold. This would have dropped off my radar for a while but you put it back on there for sure.

Tom Clift said...

I was pretty "meh" about this film overall, mostly because I had it spoiled for me ahead of time, which I think seriously lessened it's impact.

That said, I do think it's worth seeing. And it does features one of the most brilliantly uncomfortable scenes in a movie in a long time, when Brody's character is dancing with Dren. Creepy

Bryce Wilson said...

@ Budd: Very much so.

@ Le0: Thanks Buddy.

@ Mad Hatter: Ouch I guess no one can claim you don't put your money where your mouth is. That could definitely explain Polley's involment. I really hope the director gets to make High Rise. The world needs more Ballard adaptations.

I completely agree with you on the shareholder's meeting. Best scene in the film and the one that put me solidly in the film's favor.

@ 9 Fingered Menace: : /

@ Goodkind: I think you'll find it pretty far up your alley.

@ Tom: I too had the film spoiled for me. And it's was funny because I watched it with a group of friends and it more or less became a running gag of "Is this the scene where he's gonna fuck her?"

At the same time I think knowing it in advance gave it a better chance to work, as seeing it without prior knowledge would make it look as though it was coming WAY out of left field.