I took a ‘Women in Film’ class in College. Let me explain. It was not a women’s class nor did I take it to meet girls (although that didn’t hurt). This was a film class that specifically studied how film portrays women mostly in action roles usually discussing their feminine to masculine qualities and expectations. Obviously Sigourney Weaver in the ALIEN films was discussed some. I’m explaining that because I think SPLICE is ripe with discussion opportunities. And that is what is so great and fun about the science fiction genre. They might get a little silly or unbelievable but they usually pose at the very least interesting concepts.
Scientist couple, Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) are near a breakthrough in genetic engineering a new species of organisms that will hopefully help cure health issues. After their employers threaten to halt the progress of the study, they decide to pick up the process by splicing animal and human DNA. There are definite moral arguments so they keep things quiet. They plan on aborting it early, but it grows at a rapid pace and they are conflicted that it is too old. The creature goes from an alien looking animal to becoming more like a little girl they name Dren, which makes everything a little more problematic. A line is blurred as they begin to loose control of its animal instincts and even less control of their own human instincts.
The idea is fascinating and the moral implications are complex. I’m not sure if the way these two scientists respond to their made creature is very accurate but it’s definitely a possibility in a hypothetical question sort of way. Would one begin to mother or father the creature? Are these male or female roles innate in all of us? What would that imply if a creature was transgender and what characteristics does the male vs. female hormones emit? Anytime a film is brave enough to deal with issues such as transgender sexuality roles, cloning and abortion, I have to give some credit.
Now is it entertaining as a movie? I would say yes. I was expecting more of a lesser horror film but was pleasantly surprised by the creepy behavioral psychology sense more than the scary sense. The actors do a fine job and the special effects are top notch really bringing the film and creature to life. SPLICE is a sort of mix between THE RELIC and SPECIES only much better. Writer director Vincenzo Natali does an excellent job creating a film more about the characters while masking it in a suspenseful graphic sci-fi. The story provides legitimate reactions with only a few (albeit extremely) questionable scenes that made me yell out in disbelief, “WHAT?” but that all only fuels some of those conversations about the submissive and authoritative roles.
Science Fiction is definitely a genre one either loves or hates without much grey area. So if you’re not a fan, SPLICE won’t be any different and you probably won’t care about the question posed. But to you Sci-fi fans, I say check it out. I think you will be happily impressed with the mixture of disturbing entertainment and cool concepts.
Video: (1080p High Definition 16×9 1.85:1) The visuals are terrific and the effects are seamless in a brilliant picture.
Audio: (5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio) Great sound.
A Director’s Playground: Vincenzo Natali on the set of Splice (35:21): An in depth look taking us through many of the 48–day shooting schedule. This is a pretty decent raw behind the scenes look at a handful of the effect scenes. You can see Natali has a real passion for his work.