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UKScreen Rating:

Splice – Review


Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) are at the cutting edge of genetics – having already created male and female versions of a rather ugly giant slug, nicknamed Fred and Ginger.

Their work is funded by a major medical corporation, which is trying to push them towards creating new treatments, but they have other ideas.

During a public display to shareholders, Fred and Ginger rather let them down, somewhat – to say the least – leaving the pair more determined to work on their side project, out of the public gaze.

Before long, a giant, disembodied alien-like womb, suspended in a suitably fragile aquarium spurts out a peculiar creature, which resembles a giant cashew nut on legs.

Initially, Elsa treats it as a pet, but as arms appear and a human-like head and face develop, she gives it a name –Dren – and treats it like her child.

Clive isn’t comfortable with this, but agrees to go along with it – and keep it secret from their colleagues and bosses.

Dren’s body clock seems to be rather faster than ours, growing from a blob to a fully-grown, human-height amalgam of beautiful woman, bird, lizard and fish in a matter of weeks.

When they can no longer keep Dren hidden in the basement at the lab, they take her up to a remote country-house they own – and lock her in the barn.

But Dren doesn’t like being cooped up like a chicken – and as she becomes more savvy about the world around her, she starts to make things even more difficult for Clive and Elsa.


What were the Oscar-winning Adrien Brody and the Oscar-nominated Sarah Polley thinking?

While this film is certainly ambitious, there is not a single element of it that feels remotely convincing and it requires so much suspension of disbelief that you’ll want to splice the screen in two, long before it reaches its predictable climax.

Every cliché in the book, from almost every genre, is imported into this mess – during a moment of infidelity, guess what, the cheated spouse appears in the doorway – and why do they desperately try to secure the door to a barn, when it’s already been established that Dren can climb out through the sky-light?

It’s contrived, incoherent and clichéd and the fine actors are flailing around hopelessly, looking as ashamed to deliver their corny script as I felt listening to it.

The pseudo-science is poor, the characters act illogically for no reason other than to nudge the plot along. What kind of creature has legs but no arms at birth and then arms suddenly appear, only after it grows big enough that it needs to be played by a human?

It’s not shocking, exciting or frightening and while it does make you think – it mostly makes you think only about what a wasted opportunity it was.

It’s a shame that an idea that could have provided intelligent and exciting entertainment ends up as one of the most pointlessly messy wastes of space of the year so far.

opens nationwide 23rd July 2010



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