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DVD Review: Splice

October 12, 2010

Splice – An eOne Films’ Release

DVD Release Date: October 12th, 2010

Rated 14A for violence, sexual content and coarse language

Running time: 104 minutes


Vincenzo Natali (dir.)


Vincenzo Natali (screenplay)

Antoinette Terry Bryant (screenplay)

Doug Taylor (screenplay)


Cyrille Aufort (music)


Adrien Brody as Clive Nicoli

Sarah Polley as Elsa Kast

Delphine Chanéac as Dren

Abigail Chu as Child Dren



Our reviews below:


Splice DVD Review By John C.

** (out of 4)

Hipster-nerd scientists Clive & Elsa (Adrian Brody & Sarah Polley) work for a lab that specializes in splicing the DNA of different animals to create experimental new species.  When their funding is at risk of being cut, Elsa gets creative and adds human genetics to their latest experiment.  When the embryo hatches, Dren is born – a sometimes appealing, but often creepy humanoid cross.  It’s all fairly interesting stuff, but a little while after the action is moved to an old farm-house, the movie completely lost me with laughable twists and a ridiculous horror movie finale.


Despite its flaws, Splice could still be called a worthy effort with strong performances and a distinct and impressive visual style.  But by the time the credits role, with an idiotic last act that could be shown as a strict PSA for safe sex, it unfortunately ends up nothing but an interesting failure.  Certain to divide audiences, curious viewers should feel free to check it out on DVD.


The DVD includes behind the scenes featurettes and an interview with director Vincenzo Natali.


Splice DVD Review By Erin V.

**1/4 (out of 4)

The movie opens with an interestingly done credits sequence, where lab images morph into the logos of the production companies, giving us a taste of the visual style to come.  Then, we are introduced to head scientists Elsa (Sarah Polley) and Clive (Adrian Brody) and their strange spliced creatures.  When the review for their funding comes back up, they request to be allowed to try splicing their creatures with human genes, but are shot down for ethical reasons.  They then (stupidly) decide to do it on their own and hide their new creation.


At first the creature – named Dren – is kind of cute in a weird way, as she acts as a child would, developing new skills and learning to spell and communicate.  It is as she gets older, that they start to have trouble controlling her, when she rebels against the confinement to the abandoned farm where she is kept.


This could have all been very interesting, and at times, it is.  Unfortunately, in the last act of the film, things turn very strange – laughably strange.  As we are taken into the land of horror/monster movies, I just could no longer take this sci-fi story seriously.  (And not saying too much, the wings look kinda ridiculous and I don’t think Dren ever needed to speak…)


If you saw the trailer and are curious, I’ll tell you this: I think it is an interesting effort, that from a filmmaking perspective could be worth seeing once.  But as a movie, it could have done without that clichéd last act.


Splice DVD Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

As a power couple of scientists for the pharmaceutical firm N.E.R.D., Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) have carried gene splicing to the point of producing new hybrid creatures. Against company policy they pursue the next logical step of including human DNA, resulting in a female creature Elsa names Dren (Nerd backwards), that turns out to be much more than expected. Hidden away at Elsa’s late mother’s abandoned farm, Dren matures at an accelerated rate acquiring increasing human features above the waist with bird-like legs and a long tail tipped with a lethal stinger, later adding more bits as needed. Though vocally capable only of monkey-like sounds, Dren understands everything and can communicate by arranging Scrabble tiles into words. Elsa’s maternal instincts kick in as she teaches Dren what she can, until Dren reaches sexual maturity and becomes aggressively jealous of Clive and Elsa’s relationship, with dangerous consequences.


The opening credits of Splice are indicative of what is to come. X-ray images morph into studio logos, followed by what appears to be a journey through a digestive system, finally looking out at scientists reaching in for their latest specimen. The producers of the film have taken care to present the research plausibly with state of the art equipment and methods. The film does a good job raising ethical questions of whether to create, then whether and when to destroy, an intelligent partly human creature, at least until the last act where things deteriorate quickly into a horror show that doesn’t quite work, with some images that are more laughable than scary. Splice has evoked strong reactions, both positive and negative. For me strong performances from the leads in a generally thoughtful script and mostly compelling images of Dren’s development make it a worthy, if flawed film.


Consensus: Splice is an interesting sci-fi film with good performances and a distinct visual style, but it is weakened by a ridiculous and clichéd horror movie finale. **1/2 (Out of 4)

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