The best horror films are those that tap into the fear that lurks just beneath the surface of normality. I’m not talking severed limbs and buckets of blood but truly frightening films such as “Happy Games” and “The Strangers.” I was hoping the new film, “Splice,” would follow in those footsteps but, sadly, it just stumbles along.
Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley play neuroscientists who push the envelope of genetic engineering off a cliff when they splice human and animal DNA together. In doing so, they create a deadly monster. Polley’s character bonds with the creature, while Brody’s isn’t quite clear as to how to react. Initially, he tries to kill it.
Then he plays daddy. Eventually, he has sex with it. There’s none of that lurking-beneath-the-surface stuff going on here.
I really expected better things from actors the caliber of Brody and Polley. She should stay behind the camera where she excels at directing (“Away From Her”). And what’s up with Brody? Ever since he received the well-deserved Oscar for “The Pianist,” his career choices have been wobbly at best (i.e. “The Darjeeling Limited” and “The Jacket”).
Admittedly, I had a love/hate relationship with “Splice.” Director Vincenzo Natali (“Cube”) has crafted a visual masterpiece. I was totally astounded by the creativity employed in constructing this amazing creature/monster. Throughout the film, I was in a constant state of “How did he manage to do that?”
The over abundance of lab babble, not-so-hot acting and dull debates detracted from the beauty of “Splice.” Yet the poignancy of its premise during these dire past weeks resounds all too clearly. It’s best not to mess with Mother Nature.
— Pam Nadon
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