by Rick Grant
The central theme in this sci-fi turned horror film involves the consequences of messing with mother nature. The issues have been explored in many classic horror and sci-fi films such as Frankenstein, The Fly, Cipher, and other notable movies.
Co-writer/director Vincenzo Natali used recent developments in bio-science in a high tech setting to place his rebellious genetic scientists, who are also a couple, Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley).
These two genetic pathfinders believe that the quaint morality and ethics of today’s genetic experimentation can be circumvented to create human/animal hybrids to farm their unique proteins and other miracle chemicals.
The company funding the project wants results so they can finally make a profit from the byproducts of Clive and Elsa’s brilliant research. However, these genetic rebels want to go further into uncharted genetic territory, but the company will only fund they’re research if it produces patented products.
Ah yes, but they proceed anyway risking arrest and prison to develop a hybrid being-a new species. This leads them down a dark path to discovery and having to make difficult decisions.
Sci-fi and horror devotees will catch most of the references to other works, but there are many surprises that avoid cliches. Most notably, Natali has made a hip modern film using convincing high tech devices and plenty of cool looking computer programs that keep track of the genetic experiments.
Their hybrid being, Dren’s design is very realistic and a combination of live actress (Delphine Chaneac) CGI, and puppetry. Dren’s a dance of metaphors for life and how we as humans would react to alien beings landing on earth. She is continually evolving, changing. The human/CGI effects are seamless and hypnotic.
As the story evolves, Clive and Elsa realize they are way over their heads in this experiment, which has become much more than a specimen study. Although there are some dark horror moments, Natali never lets the mood drift into cheesy horror. The script has a scientific overview featuring the two geneticists venturing into an alternate universe of genetic discovery, where unprecedented things happen.
Despite the far-out premise, Clive and Elsa’s emotions take over from their cold scientific study. When Clive and Elsa accepted the emotional well-being of Dren, it translates as a metaphor for what it means to be human.
For Clive and Elsa, whatever the consequences of breaking all moral and ethical rules, they made a giant step in understanding gene manipulation. The film will make viewers think about the possibility of creating genetic hybrid beings and debate the moral issues involved.
SPLICE movie review
by Rick Grant