Reviews of this film often stated how it doesn’t quite live up to what it could have been, and I for one agree. I was never quite sure if I was going to like this or not, and I must say the early trailer did nothing for me. What really made me want to watch this was knowing that it was directed by Vincenzo Natali, the man behind the genius Cube. It’s sad for me to say that with a bigger budget, there seems to be less substance.
Adrian Brody plays Clive and Sarah Polley plays his lover and scientist partner Elsa. Both were hard to connect with and felt a bit wooden and Adrian Brody is fast becoming one of my most least favourite actors. The pair are on the verge of a scientific breakthrough and believe by splicing human DNA with other animals, they can clone a human. Pushing science to its limits they decide not to let on of their discovery until the timing is right. Instead they go ahead with their clone in private and decide to let it grow, and grow it does. It ages fast and after some unsettling, and often comical scenes the clone starts to resemble a human female. So far so good but the interesting story soon starts to descend into stupidity. After an incredible scene involving a large gathering of press and scientists and an experiment which goes horribly wrong, Clive and Elsa decide its best to hide their new clone in a barn out in the country. Their new clone is named DREN.
DREN doesn’t speak English; however some scenes made me feel a bit like the writers just didn’t know what to do with the language barrier. DREN picks up some words, never speaking them but it would seem she understands. Elsa tells DREN off a number of times, but you never actually see her being taught English. Clive doesn’t seem to want to go through with the experiment at first and there is some build up to a showdown between Clive and Elsa, but the story unfolds too safe. There’s a huge lack of tension, and even less horror. After reading some reviews i was hoping for some good old fashioned body-horror here and i was sadly let down. DREN does look impressive at times, but it was hard to connect with her and feel anything, in fact, it’s safe to say she became quite annoying.
I found this film to be quite lazy in both its writing and its direction. Scientific experiment films can, and should be brilliant and engaging and most of all interesting. Splice does its best, but there just doesn’t seem to be much there to work with. The director showed so much promise with the simplicity of Cube, but here he feels out of his depth. Brody and Polley are weak and not really all that believable and so it’s hard to feel anything for anyone. I really felt like an outsider watching this, I felt like I was missing something. It descends into a mess of an ending and DREN doing something which has sadly been given away by many magazines showing images of the film. It’s no real big twist I suppose, but it certainly didn’t deliver the shock I’m sure it intended. It then goes all full on horror but again it felt silly and all i could think was the writers just didn’t know what to do with the end and just shoved in some horror in the hope it will leave people shocked. It worked; I was shocked at how bad it was. I’m not saying Splice is a completely bad film just that it couldn’t deliver on the goods and left me feeling let down and cheated, it really could have been so much more than this.