Splice was definitely one of the more interesting movies to experience this summer, in a season packed with the likes of Inception and Sex and the City 2. Luckily, this movie was also definitely one of the most memorable. It’s a bizarre sci-fi drama involving the psychological ramifications of what would happen if you, and your scientist lover, were to create a humanoid “child” in a laboratory; serious Freudian dilemmas ensue.
To begin: Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley are a fantastic match: him, for his nerdy, nice-guy charisma, and her for grungy yet caring disposition. Together, they play Clive and Elsa, one of the better pairs of uber-scientist lovers seen in cinema in years. They listen to techno music; they love junk food and sex. They’re watchable – and not just because both actors are more than moderately talented.
As the film takes off, Clive and Elsa are developing gene-splicing technology in order to create a new species. Once this is successful, they go ahead with their plan: create a human DNA hybrid creature in order to study it and develop cures for human diseases. They begin the fertilization process, and within days the creature is attempting to free its artificial womb. Clive and Elsa realize they will be arrested if they do not abort the “fetus” now and tell their laboratory of their experiment, but they agree to keep it under wraps. They’re just so excited.
The creature grows and grows – and it’s a girl! As it is somewhat human-like, Elsa begins teaching the child as one would a preschooler: early math, the alphabet, etc. She even dresses the “child” in a pre-teen dress and gives her the name “Dren.” As Clive grows wary of Elsa’s attachment, Dren grows rapidly, soon a teenager or young adult. She now walks on two legs and looks to be about seven feet tall.
Transported by Clive and Elsa to an abandoned barnhouse for safe keeping, Dren grows angry with her zoo-like entrapment. Using her keen intellect – and without words – Dren slyly wedges herself in between Clive and Elsa’s relationship by exploiting their weaknesses, getting attached to Elsa and then hurting her at her most vulnerable, and yes, seducing her father.There is a sex scene between Clive and Dren, the now strangely beautiful creature clad in a woman’s dress, and honestly, it is as fascinating as it is ridiculous. I’d love to ask Adrien Brody how he felt during the shooting of this scene.
Splice is absolutely unique. It is simultaneously repulsive and trashy as it is honest, brave, and insightful into the human brain – specifically those of parents and inventors. You’ll definitely be entertained, though you may be offended or angered. Director and screenwriter Vincenzo Natali gave the sci-fi horror world a treat back in 1997 with Cube, which he also wrote and directed, though to call Splice as much of a treat would be severely debatable.
2.5 out of 5
Ross is a film buff and Emerson College screenwriting major. He writes about Halloween costumes at Star Costumes. Our thanks to Ross for contributing to Literal Remains, and we hope to have him back soon.