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It doesn't take its terrific premise quite as far as it should, but Splice is a smart, well-acted treat for horror fans. Read critic reviews
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Jan 30, 2013A monster's creation gone wrong, we're familiar with the concept... Frankenstein is the elephant in the room. But Splice does have something new to offer, we have two scientists behind Dren (that's the name of the creature) who are at a conflict when it comes to morals and motives surrounding Dren. We get to see Clive do something very interesting with Dren, but that's all I'll say about that... It's never really explained how this creature can help mankind and medicine, but since it's a failed experiment it doesn't really matter a whole lot either. Interesting movie, check it out if you like science fiction monsters.
Sep 01, 2012Korey Coleman said it best: "You see, this is what happens when hipsters play God." Seriously, I don't know which experiment is stranger: the genetic engineering experiment this film is about or Adrien Brody's experimenting with that haircut? Seriously though, I suppose I can buy Brody as a hipster scientist, because he just had to have done some kind of genetic modification on himself to get that nose, though Sarah Polley on the other hand, I don't know if I so much have a hard time buying her as a scientist as much as I have a hard time buying that she would want to try something like this, because, I don't know about y'all, but after I faced an army of feral zombies like the one's in Zack Snyder's "Dawn of the Dead", I think that I would be turned off to the idea of doing a dangerous human-animal gene splicing experiment. Well, I suppose I'm ultimately glad that she's here, not just because I'm happy to see that she actually got paid for something in 2009, seeing as how this film's central experiment has an immensely better chance of going on without a hitch than anyone seeing "Mr. Nobody", but because, with Merle from "eXistenZ", this film has an even bigger nostalgia slant that makes it an even more satisfying return to the body-horror genre for David Cronenberg. Oh wait, this isn't Cronenberg, it's just some other weird Canadian who wishes that he was Cronenberg, which I suppose is just fine, seeing as how this Vincenzo Natali guy can probably actually back up those ambitions of being Cronenbergian, especially now that he has a bigger budget to do more Cronenbergian "experiments". Really, I'm surprised he could afford to do any Cronenbergian experiments, because I could fiddle through my wallet and pull out more money than the amount that went into "Cube". Oh, how I wish that were true, because although $350,000 is nothing in the film industry, I'll take it, and I'm sure that the makers of this film would too, seeing as how this film fell just over $3 million short of its budget, which is a shame, because this is a decent film, though not quite genuinely good, as it also falls quite a bit short of its potential, and for quite a few reasons. The film's title is a bit ironic, seeing as how many people are more along the lines of "split" on the intelligence level of the film, with plenty of people deeming it smart, or if nothing else, fairly clever, and plenty of others deeming it all-out stupid, and where I fall I suppose isn't technically in the middle, as the film does have intelligent concepts and executes them generally with faithfulness, only to turn right around and undercut its conceptual cleverness with a lapse in directorial cleverness, as director Vincenzo Natali will all but stop the momentum of the film to remind us of another one of his influences, Terry Gilliam, by tainting the film in strange visual overstylizing that drowns out substance, which is already hurt by Natali's messy handling of the film's tones. The film's few livlier moments occasionally go a touch too fluffed up, at one point even through the glaringly awkward forcing of a montage early on, while the darker moments, which occupy most of the film, often go drenched with too much gloomy atmosphere, even when there's nothing to be uneasy about, so much so that the tonal dynamicity of the darker moments tend to fall a bit limp, and the effectiveness of the creepy atmosphere with it, which momentarily renders the film both somewhat unsubtle and even a bit atmospherically dry to a kind of bland, if not somewhat dull state. Natali further dilutes the film's level cleverness by also being rather unsubtle with his homages to his influences, flaunting the occasional stylistic choice that is rather Gilliam-esque and, especially, plenty of storytelling methods that are clear-cut classic Cronenbergian, which taint the film's assurance and subtlety, and further show that Natali isn't entirely experienced enough to be playing with the big guns laid down by his influences, which isn't to say that he's generally amateur in his worthy efforts and ambitions, as Natali hits just a bit more often than he misses with his methods, both taken and uniqie, it's just that he's getting ahead of himself, and the film suffers because of it. Still, it's not like the film only takes damage from Natali's directorial moves, for although Natali's, Antoinette Terry Bryant's and Doug Taylor's screenplay has plenty of reasonably high points, it too hits its faults, facing its share of lapses in cleverness, whether it be in its portrayal of certain character actions or in its portrayal of certain other elements. One of the film's most notably awkward moments comes in at a turn of events that falls into play just before the final act, which may not throw the film too far off, partially because it, to one moderate extent or another, supplements the film's bite a bit, yet still trips up the film up more than it sets it on the right path. The silly move the film pulls at that point really does land a blow to the film's effectiveness, or if nothing else, stops the film cold for a moment, gives you a moment to reflect on the film and ultimately come to the conclusion that the main thing that leaves this film to fall short of its potential is the fact that it is just too brief, having neither the extended length or extensive depth needed to fully explore its strong premise, which leaves the final product to dangle on the edge of underwhelmingness and ultimately collapse over, recieving that fatal push from the many faults that leave this promising experiment to suffer from too many errors in the long run. However, the thing about trial and error is that, eventually, you find what you've been looking for, and while the accomplishments made with this experiment fail to fully compensate for the faults, the fact of the matter is that the film makes its share of right moves, some of which are more consistently impressive than others. Tetsuo Nagata's cinematography is truly stunning and gives the film a rather dreamy depth to it that absorbs the darker colors and lighting and shines them back with a graceful bleakness that captures both your eyes and the film's slickly dark and trippy tones, giving the film a kind of surrealism that helps in selling the final product's more uniquely bizarre aspects, while the technical mumbo-jumo for the film helps in selling the technical mumbo-jumbo within the film. When used, the digital effects impress considerably and fit the world like a glove, not just in their looking realistic, but in their being concieved with such cleverness and detail that's both interesting and dazzling to behold, while the makeup effects that eventually fall upon the in-real-life lovely Delphine Chanéac leave Chanéac to transform in a just as intriguing, technically impressive and altogether believable fashion that's both something to behold and further sells this world. Of course, for this world to be sold on its audience, it first has to be established with the potential of being sold, and sure enough, Vincenzo Natali Antoinette and Terry Bryant craft a promising premise that, in written and directorial execution, isn't approached with nearly as much extensive depth that it should have had, yet still has unique touches that, even in execution, sometimes go handled well enough to earn your attention and a degree of investment that Vince Natali, as director, often shakes, yet more often secures. Natali's tonal and atmospheric manipulation abilities are very much underdeveloped, yet when they do hit, they cut fairly deep, whether when we're facing tension in the midst of the more thrilling and occasionally even Cronenbergianly gross horror-esque moments, or facing what depths the film does actually explore, as this premise holds much dramatic weight and tackles themes of humanity and the consequences of unnatural experimentations, and ultimately comes out not quite hitting as hard as it should have with its deeper and more dramatic notes, yet still hitting with its substance just enough for the film to have golden occasions of compellingness and intrigue that not only keep you going with the film and keep the film from collapsing as forgettable, but just plain leave you to actually walk away with much to chew upon. This film deserves more than what Natali is providing, yet when Natali gives the film what it needs to stay afloat, he really does deliver, consistently hitting with dazzling style and occasionally biting with genuinely effective depth that may not be extensive or genuine enough to bite all that deep, but just enough for you to hang on with the film, while the people who lock you into the film stand, not behind the camera, but in front of it. Adrien Brody portrays the uncertain Clive Nicoli character with engrossing depth that reflects Nicoli's hopes and fears with this experiment, and Sarah Polley portrays the ambitious, loving and, later, rather regretful Elsa Kast character with a confident presence, emotional range and compelling layers, while Delphine Chanéac, just with expressiveness, does just as good of a job as the makeup effects at selling you the Dren characters' being so inhuman, yet still having enough humanity in her to feel profound and layered emotions and depth that make her both a sympathetic and unpredictable antagonist-of-sorts, which is especially impressive when you take into consideration that, on paper, the Dren character is hardly unpredictable. The performances in this film, while not sweeping, really do spark a lot of life and effectiveness into the final product, and while that's still not enough for the film to hit as hard as it should, it's still enough to help in making this stylish and ultimately rather thought-provoking experiment as enjoyable as it generally is. At the end of this experiment, a promising concept goes undercut by an often blandly overbearing atmosphere, as well as by occasions of overstylizing and even unsubtlety, both in direction and in writing, yet is ultimately let down by the film's not taking enough time or effort to fully explore the depths of its strong premise, and with the film already being so flawed, the final product comes out as underwhelming, though still decent, as it catches your eye and, to a certain degree, the tone with a beautifully bleak and almost dreamlike visual style, as well as with excellent effects, while catching your investment with its intriguing premise, brought to life by inspired moments in Vincenzo Natali's direction and a triad of compelling performances by Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley and Delphine Chanéac, all of whom help in making "Splice" a mostly engaging and ultimately rather thought-provoking effort, even with its falling short on both ambition and potential. 2.5/5 - FairCameron J Super Reviewer
Aug 05, 2012I enjoyed the idea of the story. It certainly does present problems that exist with genetic research. Although the details leave a bit to be desired. The business that a stick through the heart does not kill you, but a rock smashed on your head does is fancy writing. But never might its shortfalls, watch the movie.
Jul 25, 2012I want an Restraining Order. You traumatizated me, you sick, SICK movie. Kudos. The history is a "what if?" of genetic aberrations. But this gets the prize for the Most Fucked-Up Version. Like if the Wizard of Oz went on rampage and killed Dorothy while raping the Lion. ...Yes. Fucking creepy, right? And the sex in this movie was unholy. Not even hot. Creepy. The critics applaud it for being traumatizating, but I don't approve a movie that makes me wanna have a lobotomy.Mark S Super Reviewer