Splice (2009)★★★☆☆


In honor of today’s news that a federal panel has approved the first use of CRISPR genome-editing technology in humans, I chose this movie. It definitely had promise. An intriguing premise, a high quality cast, a writer/director whose previous work I liked. It should have been awesome. Instead it was…weird. Scary, yes, but mostly just weird.

Oh, and with a whole lot of “what did you think was going to happen?” It almost makes me wonder what experiences Vincenzo Natali (who, by the way, wrote and directed Cube as well as this) has had that he chooses such a…distinctive direction to take this movie in.

Granted, it’s not all bad. Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody do their best with the characters and story they’re given. Polley’s character Elsa is fickle and abrasive with a family history of mental illness that gets mentioned on multiple occasions. Brody’s character Clive is mostly forgettable, although I’ll admit the guy they got to play his brother (whose character name or real name I don’t remember right now) was a great choice – I definitely could see them being brothers.

But these “scientists” are conducting uncontrolled experiments and smuggling lifeforms out of research facilities and what did they think was going to happen? Elsa asks on more than one occasion, “What’s the worst that could happen?” While I do believe that’s a question that we need to ask ourselves more often, I feel compelled to point out that the worst that could happen actually did happen to Elsa. Multiple times.

Anyway, this is a well made film with a weird plot. Without spoiling too much I feel it’s important to warn that the film contains pretty graphic and disturbing sex scenes, including a rape scene. I think the target audience is incredibly small and specific so I don’t recommend this unless you are not disturbed by anything.