DECEMBER 13, 2010

“Splice” bears a striking resemblance to the 1995 science fiction horror film “Species.” From the trailers, I anticipated a “Species” remake without actually being a remake and replacing the alien with a genetically engineered “species.” What I got was exactly that, almost to the “T” (or “S” since there is no “T” in the word “species”).

Take the format of “Species” and update it fifteen years into the future, where the world of science is right on the brink of developing clones and human genome projects to enhance human survival genetically. Unsure how to categorize “Splice” (which bares a striking resemblance to even the name of the one-word title “Species”), I must analyze the film a little further.

“Splice” may be a literal take on what humans fear in the evolution of science and technology. What if science gets out of hand? What happens when scientists create a monster they cannot control (the same fear presented on the day of Frankenstein)? Regardless, people fear the future, and with “Splice” on the cusp of what our future could hold, it places the film closely to those of the horror genre.

“Splice” also rides the line of science fiction cinema. Though it does not shoot scientists into space, the film does much toying with the metaphysical. It delves into a future in which a creature could be spliced with capabilities to morph into many different beings. It can form wings like Dren (the name of the engineered being in “Splice”), start life as a mole-like creature, and develop into a sexual human-like being. With these futuristic tendencies, the film could also be considered science fiction.

Adrien Brody is currently making his living off of films that perhaps other actors are overlooking. His last three (four if you count his voice acting in the incredible movie “Fantastic Mr. Fox” as the field mouse) significant roles have been in small films like “The Experiment” and “Predators.” Brody has a class all his own, and for lack of a better option, Brody delivers an aura to these films that would leave them almost unwatchable in his absence. Though I could have done without the eventual sexual intercourse sequence in “Splice,” for the most part, Adrien Brody delivers the best possible performance despite the screenplay’s apparent limitations.

The creatures are handled well, despite their amorphous existence. The original beings that are blobs of moving tissue are thought-provoking, especially when put on display. With apparent spontaneous exchanges, the skin blobs fight to the death, spilling the front row of onlookers with a mixture of flesh and blood in a disgustingly gorgeous display of brutality. Dren is practical as well. As it grows into a woman-like figure, you get the sense of attraction that eventually overcomes Brody’s character, a trait shared with Natasha Henstridge as Sil from “Species,” who lures unsuspecting men into bed with her in an attempt to become pregnant to spawn her alien babies.

“A message from outer space contains instructions on how to modify human DNA.” The tagline offered by IMDB.com describes the film “Species.” Erase the outer space part, and you have a slogan for “Splice.” Not saying this is a horrible rendition of an already completed concept, but “Splice” still succeeds in entertaining at least once through and does not come off as a total waste of time. Your best bet is to pop in “Species” if you have not seen it and view that first. If that catches your attention, “Splice” may be right up your alley.

June 4, 2010

Vincenzo Natali

Vincenzo Natali
Antoinette Terry Bryant
Doug Taylor

Dark Castle Entertainment
Warners Bros. Pictures

(for disturbing elements including strong sexuality, nudity, sci-fi violence and language)

104 minutes

Tetsuo Nagata

Cyrille Aufort

Michele Conroy

Adrien Brody
Sarah Polley
Delphine Chanéac
Brandon McGibbon
David Hewlett

Steve Hoban

$30 million

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