Film: ‘Splice’; Actors: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chaneac; Director: Vincenzo Natali; Rating: ***
There is a interesting kind of bankruptcy of ideas in Hollywood, where producers insist on emulating success instead of allowing a film to reach its natural ending. ‘Splice’, that is way less than the sum of its parts, ends up being a perfect example of this trend.
Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) are genetic engineers working to create new animals by splicing DNA of different species together to make medicine for humans.
When they are asked not to splice further, they rebel and this time splice human DNA with animals. And like Frankenstein, they create a creature Dren (Delphine Chaneac) that has human intelligence, but with the instinct, strength and agility of different animals that will challenge both their professional and personal life.
‘Splice’ is a well directed film that neutralizes all its good work in the last 10 minutes – the time during which from an ethical thriller, it desperately tries to become a monster horror film.
It is uncalled for in an otherwise smooth film that could have had a different yet satisfying end. Yet, in an attempt to bring ‘horror’ in its ending, it loses way.
‘Splice’, despite the evident influence of both ‘Alien’ and ‘Species’, treads its path with ethical questions about cloning, which is the main driver of the story. Also, the creature that is formed is both vulnerable and dangerous in equal measure, much different from the ‘monstors’ of ‘Alien’ and ‘Species’. Hence, to see the dark, violent shades in the end seems jarring.
Thus, despite the promising build up, film whimpers to a sad, unsatisfying end that is minus the thrills or horrors of a good climax from a movie of that genre.
Sadly, director Vincenzo Natali, who had earlier given us cult hits ‘Cube’ and ‘Cypher’, fails to get his slice of success this time.