Vincenzo Natali directed the cult sci-fi flick Cube what must be at least a decade ago now. Not too long after that in around 2002 he released the highly overlooked Cypher which went down the Kafka-Phillip K Dick route of mind control/identity type of futuristic film we’ve been getting used to over the years. After this he made a film about two guys stuck in Nothing which got even less attention, and now finally he has returned with this thriller drama that looks into the world of scientific creation.
Splice brings together two mature young adult stars (Sarah Polley & Adrien Brody) who pose as leading scientists who have found new and exciting ways of splicing together (that’s right) genes from various animals to create new creatures. Their goal, as always, is to find cures to the incurable. The mention of Cancer and Alzheimer’s makes us believe that they are being as non specific as possible (which probably doesn’t help if you are a scientist but then again their lack of attention to detail becomes something or a trend and downfall for the pair as the film goes on).
When one break through gets them excited they decide to use human DNA to go to the next level despite not being given authorisation. Of course what they end up giving birth to is a rapidly aging new breed of creature they end up naming Dren. She starts to grow up like any normal baby and pesky child with awareness being taught to her as she grows into adulthood, the definition of right and wrong is something they struggle with however, which doesn’t help when they literally keep her a prisoner from the outside world in a barn.
You can tell that things may not be heading in a pleasant direction the more you learn about Dren’s abilities and then the more you learn about how messed up her scientific parents may actually be themselves.
But this is the point is it not? And Natali works best when he is making points about science and ourselves, a real natural for this type of material and quite often very well shot material as well. The film is entertaining throughout and here and there threatens to fall into the ludicrous, but thankfully the tone is altered in such moments for laughs sake in order to remind us that we can still have a sense of humour about these things.