Clive and Elsa are the best scientists in their field. Splicing together the genes of several animals they have managed to bring into existence a new kind of creature, the protein of which could be highly profitable.
Vincenzo Natali is the Canadian born writer/director The Cube (1997) which was a low budget (about quarter million Canadian dollars) film about a group of people trapped in a cube. It was an excellent film. Natali went onto make Cypher for around $7M and then was obviously given the chance at a much larger budget ($30M) with Splice.
Splice is an inventive, horror-sci-fi-thriller, with a few recognisable actors in Brody and Polley (as genetic scientists Clive Nicoli and Elsa Kast) and it's clear that there was plenty of money spent on the creature effects which are very good. Delphine Chanéac is excellent as Dren, although Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley's roles really could have been filled by anyone and money was certainly wasted on employing them as 'big name' actors. It'd have been better as a film starring lesser well known actors.
An interesting talking point that came up from this film for me was that intelligent people (as far as this film is concerned) certainly don't make better parents that less intelligent people, Clive and Elsa are bloody terrible! Clive unsurprisingly ends up having sex with Dren while Elsa (although clearly damaged by her own childhood) is a terrible, aggressive mother.
I was really hopeful for this film. I was expecting a cleverly written and strongly acted movie. The writing is good although flawed in places and the direction is fairly solid but Brody and Polley are just average. I thought that Polley was very good in some of her other films and although I think Brody is seriously odd and thus makes some very weird acting and performance choices I still think that he may have some talent buried somewhere, but it's not on show here.
Splice was really not what I was hoping for, it just falls a bit flat at times, and the first half drags a little, before things get more exciting towards the end, but I still think it was an interesting film and it's not put me off watching anything else by Natali in the future who I believe is a very talented writer/director.
It is unusual for a movie released under producer Joel Silver's Dark Castle brand to receive a rather underwhelming advertising campaign. All the more surprising is that Guillermo del Toro's (Pan's Labyrinth) input as producer has also been relatively underplayed, considering that when Optimum distributed Spanish chiller The Orphanage, his name was so large on the posters many thought he had actually directed it.
But its limited marketing may work out for the better, as the less you know about what the film contains, the heavier its emotional punch. Adrian Brody and Sarah Polley star as research scientists Clive and Elsa (their names a potential nod to the lead actors in Bride of Frankenstein). Their area of expertise is gene-splicing; creating man-made living entities that could present cures for illnesses such as cancer and MS. The dangers of such endeavours become clear when the two take their work into a more personal capacity by secretly using human DNA in a covert experiment. Elsa believes they are on the brink of a major breakthrough in medical research, and with their funds soon to be diverted, she convinces Clive, both her colleague and romantic partner, to help her create and nurture a creature made from 'splicing'.
The result is a peculiar rendering of human and animal DNA; a creature that ages at an accelerated rate and seems to comprehend emotions and issues beyond its extremely limited experience. In order to protect their creation (which they name Dren - Nerd spelt backwards), they move it - or rather her - to a disused farm. This is when the film is at its most interesting stage, as it shows Dren learning about the complexities of adolescence while exploring her more animalistic instincts.
Aside from the film's final act, which abandons its thoughtful mood and descends into horror-fest hysteria, Splice is a fascinating fable about the severe consequences that come from taking nature into one's own hands. It's also a bizarre and freshly realised metaphor about the mothering-or-smothering debate that concerns many parents worldwide. It may not be the most cheery of films, with a handful of scenes that some may find shocking, but this is one of the most imaginative and challenging offerings 2010 has seen so far.
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Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 (Europe) or region Free DVD Player in order to play Clive and Elsa are the best scientists in their field Splicing together the genes of several animals they have managed to bring into existence a new kind of creature the protein of which could be highly profitable But experimenting for a large corporate firm doesn’t satisfy their scientific curiosity After secretly adding human DNA into their formula Clive and Elsa soon realise they may have made a mistake a big mistake A mistake that seems to be aging growing and transforming at an incredible rate An uncontrollable mistake that’s about to break loose and rip their world apart into tiny pieces Directed by celebrated cult director Vincenzo Natali (Cube Cypher Nothing Getting Gilliam) and starring Adrian Brody (King Kong Predators) Sarah Polley (Existenz Dawn Of The Dead) and David Hewlett (Stargate Atlantis) Splice is an unforgettable sci-fi horror like nothing you’ve ever seen before or will ever see again
Sci-fi fantasy horror. Two renegade young scientists, Clive Nicoli (Adrien Brody) and Elsa Kast (Sarah Polley), knowingly transgress legal and ethical boundaries by conducting a dangerous experiment in which they combine or 'splice' DNA from human and animal sources. Their experiment results in the creation of a new creature whom they christen Dren (Delphine Chaneac). Dren, who resembles a human female but has animal features including wings and aquatic lungs, at first exceeds the wildest dreams of her makers - but as she continues to grow and learn at an alarming rate, her existence gives rise to deadly consequences.