This year has seen the release of some fantastic films already and July’s box office can only be perceived as tough competition for the top spot; With the highest grossing films being Christoper Nolan’s mind boggling Inception and Lee Unkrich’s brilliant, long awaited Toy Story 3. With this in mind, I find it incredibly brave of Optimum Releasing to drop Splice into such an overcrowded month.
Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley play couple, Clive Nicoli & Elsa Kast, two young scientists who experiment with animal genes with the goal of creating new genetic hybrids which will possess the characteristics of several animals. With their progress grinding to a halt, Elsa suggests the use of human DNA to speed up the process. Although at first hesitant about the idea, Clive agrees & after all, like a bottle of Dr.Pepper, Elsa suggests ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’. Which sets up nicely the moment where things inevitably do go wrong, I won’t say exactly what does go wrong but it’s quite predictable, if not inevitable.
The experiment eventually evolves into a part human, part animal hybrid which they decide to call Dren. Dren is played by French actress, Delphine Chanéac, but heavily drenched in visual effects and CGI to create the disturbing outer shell of her character. These effects are the stand out element of the film and are visually & technically impressive. However the dialogue and acting is a quite dreary at times to say the least and it tends to shadow the rare moments of good cinema that evolve from the visual effects and its unique premise.
Splice could’ve been brilliant & quite unique, but it just falls neatly into the Sci-Fi genre without the blink of an eye. Plus like the majority of so many genre films out there, it’s sometimes obvious that it’s just a mix of direct influences repackaged. It’s like building something out of Lego when you only have the rubbish pieces available. My main issue with the film is, it doesn’t take its premise far enough, it sort of skims around the edges and never really dives in, always acting like a spectator. If everything in the film had been slaved over half as much as the visual effects and cinematography, we would have had an incredible film on our hands.
At the end of the day, Splice is a modern take on the Frankenstein story in which the morale is, if you have a laboratory and the skills required to experiment with DNA then don’t. It’s not worth the trouble. There’s a line in the film where Elsa asks Clive ‘What is it?’ to which he replies, ‘A mistake’. I couldn’t have put it better myself.
Splice is all in good cinemas now. You can find out more info on the film here. Or take a look at the trailer below.