Splice Movie Review: Fetal Attraction, Sexy Sci-Fi Reproductive Romp

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Less straight up sci-fi about mix ‘n match multi-species cloning, Splice is more a cut and paste genre collage of its own, that dips into mutant tongue-in-cheek territory just when it seems poised to scare you out of your mind. And weirdly inventive horror director Vincenzo Natali (Cube) doing provocative mad scientist moviemaker here, seems to be out to make the most of a mental hybrid evoking audience fear and shock amusement simultaneously.

Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley are Clive and Elsa, biochemist lovebirds stationed at a pharmaceutical lab. Deep into experimental cloning but frustrated by legal statutes against toying with human DNA, they secretly embark on their own discoveries, as underground free lancers into concocting a new human and animal combo breed.

But the hyperactive female creature with a mind of her own (French actress Delphine Chaneac in adulthood) who emerges from the fetal lab tank is not exactly what the couple had in mind. Which due to certain dyslexic tendencies on her part, comes to be self-named Dren after learning to read the word ‘nerd’ backwards. Even if she’s sometimes referred to more appropriately as The Mistake. And though they excel as scientists, bad parenting skills are another matter, combined with the mutant offspring’s out of control semi-animal instincts.

In any case, as Dren matures from what seems like a cross between a screeching hairless chicken and a two-legged rodent, she gets awfully horny when in the proximity of a baffled Clive. While Elsa, clearly the more obsessive danger junkie of the pair, bonds in perverse ways with The Mistake. Who happens to also be decked out with a really tall tale, pun intended.

So what we end up with in Splice is seemingly sci-fi on acid. And a creative creature compound touching on bald bisexual bestiality; possible self-rape linked to porn again pro-life movement incestuous cloning; involuntary transsexual gender reassignment; a cautionary tale about inter-species unsafe sex, and a pair of DNA altered worms named Ginger and Fred, who may actually be George and Fred.

Splice: Fetal Attraction, Sexy Sci-Fi Reproductive Romp. And definitely not for the scientifically challenged in the audience.

Warner Bros

Rated R

2 1/2 stars

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network’s Arts Express.