Two young rebellious scientists are told by their employers to halt groundbreaking work that has seen them produce new creatures with medical benefits by splicing together multiple organisms' DNA. They decide to secretly continue their work, but this time splicing in human DNA. Written by
Splice centres on two renowned young scientists (Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley) that are quasi-famous for successfully creating a new species of animal, a species with enormous pharmaceutical industry potential in the form of an ability to secrete profitable proteins. Despite a refusal by their company bosses to approve the next stage of the project, or anything that tampers with human DNA, their ambitions lead them to create a human-animal hybrid by combining human genes with those of the created species. This in turn leads to the creation of a new entity they name Dren, which they raise and attempt to study as a personal project concealed from their employers and colleagues.
The story becomes highly engrossing as we follow the creature's development alongside that of the two scientists, who are in a relationship that becomes increasingly strained by a series of ethical and logistical dilemmas. The two central performances are well-judged, but the real star is Dren; or the CGI responsible for her creation, which is always convincing and solid at all stages of the creature's evolution. Vincenzo Natali's visually intense direction is also worth mentioning, and he clearly enjoys playing with a generous budget as compared with his previous features like Cube.
This is, however, no modern masterpiece the plot becomes predictable and contrived in the final third, the minor characters are little more than stereotypes (lax young brother, venal bosses) and the comedic elements of the film don't always sit comfortably with the horror aspects (there is, however, a notable exception in a hilarious scene towards the end). But these drawbacks are outweighed by the plus points, which makes Splice an enjoyable experience overall.
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