film review: Splice (2010)

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Splice Poster Adrien BrodyIt’s been a while since I wrote a review. I feel bad about this. I’m sure you’ve missed my endless waffling about topics wholly irrelevant to the films in question. Never fear though! I’m back…

Splice was one of those films that sounded interesting enough to take note of but not interesting enough to actually find out any more about it. Cross bred mutants? In my head it had fallen into the Species category… could be interesting but more likely to turn out crap.

This has meant that, in some weird messed up way, I was quite happy with Splice. Kind of. It’s kinda like being happy about eating coal because it doesn’t taste like dog shit. It’s a good thing… but you’re not exactly going to jump for joy.

Just in case you have no idea what I’m talking about, Splice is about two scientists working in a pharmaceutical company who create an all new gene-spliced life form using human DNA. That part’s fine, good solid sci-fi topic which everyone can understand; moral dilemma, scientific advancement vs. ethics, money vs. social responsibility. All well and good. And obviously, genetic engineering is a hot-button topic at the moment. I’m cool with that. I love those kinds of films. But Splice never quite makes it to the heady heights of moral debate.

That’s the basic problem with Splice. I get the feeling that it thinks it’s was a bit heavier than it is… it never quite crosses the boundary from schlock-horror over to meaningful discussion of the topic. Now, to be fair, I’m not entirely sure if it was meant to because every time they look like they’re going that way they veer off in some other direction… but I have to imagine it did mean to. If it thought it was a B-grade splatter horror then there should have been a hell of a lot more splatter.

Never mind though, if you can accept what you’re getting then it’s not really that bad. That really is the best I can say about. It’s pretty much exactly what I thought about the other Vincenzo Natali films I’ve seen, Cube (which he also wrote) and Cypher. Half way there. Those films were better though, Splice verges a little too far into the ridiculous for me to really recommend it everyone. In particular, there were one of two crucial scenes that, in my opinion, were a little too shoe-horned in. They should have been able to flow far more naturally into them. Oh well, I guess they did what they could.

Despite that, personally, I did enjoy it… a bit. Aside from those scenes I can’t point anything that sticks out as particularly wrong with it. Those scenes themselves are ok, they don’t ruin the film and in general… the acting is fine, it looks reasonable, it’s not particularly boring… it’s just…. not as good as it should be. For me, I liked the ideas behind it. I guess I’m just sucker for sci-fi, even if the ideas aren’t particularly well dealt with, I’ll be happy watching them unfold. However creakily.

I suppose part of me is just annoyed that it wasn’t brilliant and I’m being slightly harsh on it because of that. I think it had some genuinely original ideas in it. No mean feat in a subject which has been so throughly debated. It could have been great and, to be honest it wasn’t really that far off the mark. But it was definitely off.

Bottom line is though, if you’re looking for a decent scary horror flick, don’t bother. If you’re thinking there might be a good examination of the ethics of genetic engineering then guess what, there isn’t. If you’re looking for a bit of gore… well, there’s a bit of that, but it’s not really worth it… In fact, the only reason I would give for anyone to go and see this film is if you’re a fan of David Cronenberg. In that case you might find it kind of interesting to see another take on the genre he perfected. I am a fan of Cronenberg… so… I think it was kind of worth seeing. Well, I don’t regret seeing it anyway so… that’s got to count for something…. right?

If you have seen it, let me know what you think – I know I’m being somewhat non-committal in this review so I’d love to hear from anyone who did really like it. Or anyone who hated it. I’m not fussy.


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