By Jack Rico
‘Splice,’ is in this critic’s opinion, one of the worst, if not arguably the worst movie of 2010. There are so many wrong things with it on so many levels I don’t even know where to begin. Actually, I do know where to begin. Let’s start with the plotline that Warner Bros. has up on their press website for the film:
Superstar genetic engineers Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) specialize in splicing DNA from different animals to create incredible new hybrids. Now they want to use human DNA in a hybrid that could revolutionize science and medicine. But when the pharmaceutical company that funds their research forbids it, Clive and Elsa secretly take their boldest experimentation underground — risking their careers by pushing the boundaries of science to serve their own curiosity and ambition. The result is Dren, an amazing, strangely beautiful creature of uncommon intelligence and an array of unexpected physical developments. At first, Dren (spelled ‘NERD’ backwards, wink, wink). exceeds their wildest dreams. But as she grows and learns at an accelerated rate, her existence threatens to become their worst nightmare.
The story sounds compelling and gripping, piquing ones interest of the outcome. Regrettably, when you finish experiencing this disjointed effort, the results are baffling and incomprehensible. There are numerous leaps of logic – instances when the protagonists act in a fashion that only characters in a comedy would. It’s as if the screenwriters wanted to hammer home how idiotic these scientists really are. Ultimately, our heroes actions in the second act are aberrations of consistent implausibilities.
The character of Elsa played by Sarah Polley is a vexing figure who is pigheaded, ambitious and arrogant. She’s not a likable character, you don’t root for her but rather against her. Her behavior towards volatile situations and tense moments are obtuse and supercilious. Brody on the other hand is cautious, correct in his ways, but eventually turns out to be a milksop of a man who lets his unstable woman take charge of critical situations and of his morals. The movie finally collapses when several Freudian occurrences transpire without any rhyme or reason. I can only describe them as some of the most preposterous, unlikely and outrageous twists I have seen in movies (‘Orphan’ by Spaniard director Jaume Collet-Serra comes a close second).
The fright horror we were putatively in for was diminished to only special effects editing and dimwitted risible scenes of absurdity, nothing more. Not once was I scared (unlike The Strangers or The House of The Devil recently). I kept placing my hands on my face, but in disbelief for the inanity unfolding before my very eyes. The trailer is partly the culprit. It misleads us into expecting a flat out terror film full of suspense building sequences matched with high-intense graphics. Rather, it delivers a science fiction drama of the likes of Species, to be exact. Horror is only a secondary thought here.
Guillermo Del Toro served as a producer and did a descent job in creating Dren and most of the special effects with the budgets he was provided. Director Vincenzo Natali shot a beautifully dark and mysterious production that is visually appealing, but the payoff is painful not only to the viewing experience but to the pocket as well. If you can, stay away from this film, unless you want to see how bad it is. That sometimes happens to me too.
Rated: R for disturbing elements including strong sexuality, nudity, sci-fi violence and language.
Release Date: 2010-06-04
Screenplay: Vincenzo Natali & Antoinette Terry Bryant
Official Website: http://www.splicethefilm.com/