Skip to main content


Movie Title: Splice (2010)
Spoilers: none


The word "splice" is a notably strong word. And for this review, instead of providing my usual given titles, I will let this one stand alone. It deserves to, not unlike the film itself, which stands proudly on its own two feet. In the context of the movie, splicing refers to the splicing of DNA from different animals to create new forms of life.

As it stands, this lofty-sounding, B-movie-ish, Sci-fi idea is not impossible or a crazy exaggeration, and it should not be ridiculed. Indeed, it is done and has been done for some years, making the premise eerily believable, and therefore, more enticing to tinker with in the name of mildly disturbing entertainment. And as shocking and unbelievable as the idea may have sounded to our grandparents, the light shock value it possesses has nothing to do with things while the issue of biomedical ethics and the debate on human cloning has everything to do with it.

Hard at work in white - and for some reason, poorly-lit laboratories, with surprisingly old computer monitors - are Clive Nicoli and Elsa Kast (Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley). The two are scientists, a couple specializing in DNA splicing. Their assignment: to extract specialized genes and proteins for biomedical disease research that will turn a profit (Most of you know that anytime someone mentions the words "medical" and "research" in a sentence together, "profit" is either expressed or implied).

Nicoli and Kast are making great progress, and their continued work will hopefully involve experiments with human DNA. But human genetic experimentation is sadly outlawed, thanks to so many good, godly Republicans who have long held sway, even in this fictional reality. It appears there truly is no escape from the religious right...anywhere!

Presenting as much of a problem is their concern for the competition. But when the brakes are put on their work, the two take matters into their own hands. And as always when working with any kind of code, their next off-the-books genetic experiment will bring some unexpected results that will hit very close to home. It will involve human DNA spliced with the extractions from various animals. She/he/it will be called Dren. 

Splice is a thoughtfully written and provocative picture that only ever errs in terms of its showiness of Dren, contrasted with the low-budget background feel. The addition of inter-species erotica was, of all things, distasteful. But never should the candidate viewer make the mistake of assuming Splice to be a cheap, bargain barrel Sci-fi horror flick that is meant only to take away the boredom of a lazy, off-day afternoon, nor is it to find company among many movies that have been cropping up since movies have been made that tell us about how messing with "God's plan" of life or "nature's way" brings chaos.

If the world followed the advice of Bible-belt-ers and other soon-to-be-extinct classes of the pious human community, not only would we not have a space program, but a science program either. We would have astrology only and not astronomy, and we would have only alchemy instead of chemistry. If the far right had their way, children would be encouraged to see their priest or preacher for life's big questions instead of their professors, and many would believe that snow is the result of God shaking out dandruff. I kid you not. 

And therein is the beauty of Splice--it is ideologically driven, without ever taking sides. It has no message to preach, no soapbox from which to drive home an agenda. But it unquestionably makes you think, without contradicting the credibly debatable premise that all human life is sacred. It goes on to declare that if we cross established ethical boundaries, there will be consequences, and some of them will be deeply personal. The question is, are we willing to live with those consequences?

And at what point do we quit doing the work and the work starts doing us? When does a task at hand go from a passion on to an ego-driven obsession? How much of ourselves will we put into our work? And most importantly, will the long-term rewards outweigh the disheartening blows and unfortunate setbacks in getting to where we want to be? These are decisions I am sad to say the human community as a whole is not yet ready to answer. But these are the hot questions that we must answer some day soon.

The Cube director Vincenzo Natali brings you Splice, a film that will eagerly please the Sci-fi junkies and keep everyone else watching and appreciating the stern acting and simultaneous feelings of uneasiness and soft-core suspense. This one is a more-than-promising candidate for best Sci-fi of the year, and some would dare say, at least a bantamweight contender for best film of the year.



Grade: A- (4 stars) Recommended!
Rated: R (for language, brief nudity, violence, and adult situations)
Director: Vincenzo Natali
Summary: Elsa and Clive, two young rebellious scientists, defy legal and ethical boundaries and create an inhuman creature.
Starring: Adrien Brody "Clive Nicoli," Sarah Polley "Elsa Kast," Delphine Chanéac "Dren," Brandon McGibbon "Gavin Nicoli," David Hewlett "William Barlow," Abigail Chu "Child Dren"
Genre: Sci-fi / Horror / Thriller


Popular posts from this blog

When Jesus Turns Down the Glory: 10 Worst Ever Christian Songs

It’s a sad testimony when even the creator of a thing realizes that the product isn’t what it was intended to be. Well, actually it’s a good thing. It just doesn’t happen often enough. The Christian music industry is, shall we say, not up to par with where its admirers (and even creators and ardent well-wishers) would hope it would be. And when even the average believer realizes that their music is not market-cornering stuff, all should know that there is a problem.

Now not all Christian music sucks (you might even find a few rock songs from artists like Petra on Joe Holman’s ipod that he still sometimes listens to and enjoys), but what makes the stuff that does suck suck is that what sucks sucks for a number of different reasons. We begin the countdown going from best of the worst to absolute worst...

The Top 5 Most Powerful Beings in Sci-fi (Part I of II)

It’s a subject that is rarely tackled in any form outside of random questions on a message board, but here we will devote a sensible examination of it. Who – what – is the most powerful being anywhere in every realm of sci-fi or fantasy ever dreamt up by a finite human being? I’ve been contemplating this subject since I was 8 years old. At 39, it hasn’t left my mind. That means several things; (1) I’m a fucking geek. (2) I’ve invested enough of my life pondering this for it to qualify as an obsession.

As with all “Most” anything lists, we are faced with several problems, one of them being limited source material. A couple of these only made one or two brief appearances somewhere and that is all we have to go by. But sometimes, those situations let our imaginations go into overdrive and give us even more creative fun. The mystery tends to add to the experience of contemplation.

The Top 5 Most Powerful Beings in Sci-fi (Part II of II)

#1) The Douwds – From Star Trek The Next Generation

Claim to fame: This Douwd went from pacifist to mass murderer of 50 billion in a single moment of anger. He appears to hold the record for most murders in all of sci-fi.
Abilities: Just about unlimited.
Nature: True immortals.

Our winner, debatably edging out number #2, is a mysterious race of beings called the Douwds. We only get to meet one of their kind in a single episode (#51, season 3 - see the condensed version here) called “The Survivors.” It was one of the very best of any season. What little we know of this illusive race “of disguises and false surroundings” only adds to our fascination with them.

When the Enterprise gets an urgent distress call from a federation colony on Delta Rana IV about an attacking alien warship, they head over as fast as they can, but they are days away. By the time they arrive, it is too late. All are dead and the planet has been literally leveled…with the sole exception of one house and the small pa…