Jul 24, 2010


"Species" you might be joking, science fiction film it is, skin-romp hybrid thriller this isn't. Splice comes from the mind of Vincenzo Natali, the minimalist director behind the voracious paranoia of Cube and the ideological wit of Nothing. Splice is his newest foray into films that chronicle the broad aspect of science. Cube didn't so much tackle the theme of science as it was more of an ambiguous and unseen threat whereas Splice hosts Dren who is both worldly and terrifying. Capturing the star power of Adrien Brody as the awkward Clive and Sarah Polley as Elsa, Splice already has two things going for it. Fresh off the high that Predators left me frantically searching for in other studio pictures, it was nice to rewind to him with hair, and emotion. Natali has come along way from his oddball films with singular ideas and it glows transparently as Splice harnesses too many ideas leaving the film with a slight attitude of a bewildered newborn. That is, until the second part of the film.

Starting out, Splice jumps right ship into the fairly mundane zone of the film and normally every motion picture has these, whether they are necessary or not. If judgment came down to brass tacks then I'd choose to be wowed in the end than in the beginning. Being the pessimist that I am, I find more comfort in closings. After the science terminologies are passed around rather fervidly between the married couple, Elsa projects this crazy idea for moving onto the next phase by incorporating human DNA into their "The Mist" inspired flesh beasts with unsurprising results. Viola! The "mistake" is created in an artificial chamber that sports very creative imagery of artificial birthings and goopy sound effects. Once they discover a mutating age ratio amongst the beastchild, the consequential happenstances come out to bite them in the ass. Dren, named after the company for whom they are employed under (N.E.R.D. but backwards), begins to evolve at an incredible rate and becomes increasingly more feminine and borderline aggressive. As far as the tale of Splice goes, lets just say I'm glad this bat-out-of-hell never hits menopause.

Once the fire of passionate yet pretentious storytelling fades, the sinister and wondrous special effects of Splice take heed as the sole proprietor of the audiences attention and will remain so until the controversial copulation scene that had me wincing and feeling like a psychosexual deviant for not turning away. Not only does the CGI of the older Dren look so disgustingly fleshy but her body has been paid strict attention to detail, even so far as down to the terrestrial breasts on her unnatural body. All this was led up to with very critical scenes of masterful suspense and banal foreshadowing which is why Splice hit me as hard as it did, excusing the latter. Had I not cared about this creature or its rotating affection for either Clive or Elsa, I wouldn't have been so damned creeped out by its juvenile affections towards either surrogate. Just watching it spell words with Scrabble letters had me urging to break out of the trance I had been placed in to do something more productive than watching some flustered equality-of-sexes-my-ass motion picture encompassing that awkward "alien" sexuality that the Species series is so known for.

Speaking of psychotic women in film, Splice is one of the more recent contenders. Not only are Elsa's intentions not as they appear, she splits mid-film into a baby crazy bitch whose mind and matter are both disproportionate to what they were at the beginning of Splice. Which is not to say that the ending of Splice came as a surprise, which it did, but could have easily been presumed and predicted well before the finale of this film. Splice is that film that if you venture in with an elitist nit-picking attitude trying to discern true science behind a quasi-creature feature then you'd be sorely mistaken. While not breaking any new ground with the monster mash near the end that invokes memories of Jeepers Creepers 2, however this time with no racial purging, Splice does many things right and these are all brave grounds that Species didn't penetrate. While the seduction was in place, Natasha Henstridge could never compete with Delphine Chanéac's harrowing and childlike sexual demeanor. The problem with Splice isn't so much within the film itself but in the audience. While I admit I wanted to hate this film for its melancholy and disastrous ending, I found this to be the reason why I enjoyed this film so much. It's an affable piece of genetic destruction if I'd ever seen one and it was directed by someone with talent; a fleeting feat indeed. Just don't expect a sing-song ultraviolent masterpiece with this one.


1 comment:

peregrine fforbes-hamilton said...

Sarah polley was at the peak of her desirability 20 years ago when she was 10 thats when i would have loved to have buggered her because now at 31 her looks really are fading badly. By the way, Adrien Brody is a worthless pile of garbage.