Splice

I’ve owned the movie Splice for 4 years now but hadn’t seen it until last night. Let me explain! I used to do marketing for a local gym here in Alaska and we offered movie rentals to our members. Since we only had so much room for dvds, the employees got the chance to purchase them once they came off the rack. But since we had 18 locations full of employees, the guy running it would send out an email to everyone with the list of dvds. We had to reply as quickly as possible with which ones we wanted and just hope that we had requested it first. So what you wanted to do was cast a wide net to make sure you at least got a couple of movies. Well, Splice just happened to be one of those “cast a wide net” but only actually get the movies you sort of wanted. I was hesitant to watch it because I’d heard there was a rape scene and I just can’t stand those in movies. But I sucked it up last night for a SyFy night and here are my thoughts on this incredibly flawed movie.

Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley play genetic engineers and lovers, Clive and Elsa, that have successfully spliced together the DNA of several animals to create a new hybrid for medical use. I don’t know who designed these globs of life but they’re just sort of gross bags of flesh and bone but maybe that was better than cheesily piecing together all the animals they supposedly spliced. After this huge success, Elsa wants to go further using human DNA. Of course, due to moral issues and the fact that they should really just concentrate on their current project, this idea is turned down. But Elsa doesn’t really listen to “no” so she starts the experiment anyway. After a few failed attempts, Elsa inseminates the faux uterus and tells the disappointed Clive that it probably won’t carry it to term so what’s the real harm. This all happens after Clive has revealed to Elsa that he wants to have kids with her some day and she’s incredibly hesitant. We eventually find out that Elsa had a horrible mother that wouldn’t let her wear makeup. Oh and left her a huge farm that’s conveniently in the middle of nowhere. But that’s not really important until later. The faux uterus starts to go into labor with the embryo that wasn’t meant to come to full term (it actually dies once and comes back to life) but it’s having a very difficult time birthing this creature so of course Elsa sticks her hand up in there to help things along. Because, as we all know, that’s a really good idea. To their surprise, the creature (who apparently has barbs or teeth or… something sharp) latches on to Elsa. Clive leaps into “save my girlfriend” mode and smashes the machine to bits. I’m guessing this machine costs hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars and therefore is the facility’s only one. But no one in this entire movie notices that these genetic engineers, who have noticeably been hiding from the rest of the facility, have just ruined a large piece of machinery. But whatever.

After saving Elsa from the grips of this little creature, Clive holds her as they stare at this thing and call it a mistake. Do they kill it there? Nope, they place it in an infant incubator and then debate killing it. But somehow, the real creature bursts out of what we thought it was and it’s horrifically “cute” I suppose so Elsa stops Clive from gassing it so that they can study it. After X-rays and other tests, they decide there’s just too much scientific gold here to justify killing something that’s obviously dangerous. Clive is hesitant but Elsa points out that the creature is aging so quickly that they’ll actually see it die pretty quickly. The creature quickly grows arms and looks much more like a little girl with a tail and stinger instead of a naked mole rat. Elsa teaches her to spell with Scrabble pieces so that she can communicate. She spells out the logo on Elsa’s shirt (also the name of their facility) which is NERD. And since Elsa is looking at it upside down she decides it would be clever to call the creature Dren. Since their facilities are in danger of losing their funding because they’ve neglected the project their company actually knows about, they have to move Dren to the farm.

Dren grows quickly and the NERDs are stuck with a hormonal teenage hybrid that’s not just confused about wtf she is but also why she can’t go out into the world. Elsa tries to raise her like a child and Clive seems to remember this is something he regrets creating. But of course, because Elsa had such a terrible mother she’s a terrible “mother” which leads to her taking away Dren’s cat. Disappointment is just a part of growing up Dren! But then she changes her mind, gives the cat back, Dren kills cat, Elsa slaps Dren, and Dren attacks Elsa with her stinger tail. And we all know the next logical thing to punish her with is chopping off her stinger and ripping all of her human clothes from her lest we forget she’s not actually human.

Oh and by the way, Elsa and Clive decide to “connect” with no protection because they’ll just see what happens. Dren just happens to also watch behind a curtain. Which I’m guessing was supposed to spark something in her? Well, Elsa starts taking sick days, is overly tired and has plenty of “whoa the world is moving too quickly” moments. Pregnant much? While she’s knocked out one night, Clive decides to teach Dren to dance but stops because he almost makes out with her. That’s right. The guy that has 1) wanted to start a family with his long time girlfriend Elsa and 2) hated this “mistake” now wants nothing more than to mate with her. Oh, I forgot to mention as well that he also tried to drown her and that’s how they found out she has aquatic lungs. But now his homicidal thoughts are now taking the backseat to his other thoughts. That’s right, he throws caution to the wind and they decide to get horizontal. Elsa catches them in the act, runs away and Clive chases her down to talk this out. They return to the farm because I guess it’s not that big of an issue and find Dren dead. Yup, this is now the third time she’s died and they somehow don’t expect her to come back. But she… no wait, he does. Dren has turned into a male, just like their other spliced project, and wants nothing more than to get it on with Elsa which he succeeds at. In the middle of the act, Clive runs Dren through with a large pointy stick but it’s Elsa bashing Dren’s head in with a boulder that does the trick, but not before Dren stabs Clive in the heart with his large stinger. Because why would Dren attack the person holding the boulder over his head when the one lying on the ground is obviously the biggest threat.

Being the sole survivor, Elsa sits with NERD’s backer and agrees to not say a word about Dren and accepts money. Money for what? Maybe Dren’s body? Nope. Elsa stands a reveals she’s super pregnant and I guess it’s supposed to be Dren’s spawn. Like the backer tells her, it’s not like anyone would blame her for not going through with it but Elsa replies “What’s the worse that could happen?” Honestly? A sequel. That’s the worse that could happen. This movie really had a lot of potential but it moves too slowly and then falls flat too quickly. Maybe someday they’ll be able to make a SciFi horror that can stand up to Species, but Splice is not it.

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