Thursday, 13 October 2011

Splice (2009)- Review

Film Cover

This film is a French Canadian sci-fi horror about how two scientists experiment with animal DNA’s and humans into their work to make the “ultimate evolution” becomes an accidental experiment they regret. Directed by Vincenzo Natali and stars Sarah Polley as Elsa, Adrien Brody as Clive and Delphine Chanéac as experimental specimen, Nerd.

Two scientists, Clive and Elsa begins to experiment with various animal DNA’s to create something new with animal traits, they’ve already previously been successful with their two protein experiments until one of them changes gender and attacks the other. Using those different animals DNA’s they decided to experiment further and introduce human DNA to create a hybrid. However since this “new” specimen (called Dren to avoid being named “Specimen”) is brought into the human world, chaos develops. With Dren’s ability to grow quicker than a human, she begins to develop feelings and thoughts, with the idea of setting outside but Clive and Elsa refuses in case she causes trouble. As the course of the film moves on, more inevitable things happens, with Dren having sex with Clive and killing him, changing genders and rapes Elsa until all is the end when Elsa kills Dren with a large rock.

The CGI form of Dren as a baby
The characters in the film are actually named after the actors in James Whale’s Bride of Frankenstein, which apart from the actor’s names, some mise en scene is derived from the film such as lighting, props, the Gothic like run down farm and the plot’s storyline of making a new creation but goes hell and killing it in the end. The successful CGI used on Delphine Chanéac to create the wings, gills legs and tail were successful and according to Kim Newman, “Dren feels as real as Karloff’s Monster. Natali plays expertly on our sympathies as the plot takes a darker tone — this is a horror movie in which we are as afraid of what will happen to the monster as of what she will do to other people.” (Newman, 2010).

Apart from Bride of Frankenstein, based on Anton Bitel view, the film is also quite closely linked to Frankenstein due to the who setting look and Elsa’s “Its Alive” phrase and the hide and seek scene inside the small lab chambers derived from Alien (1979) (Bitel, 2009). TO show that the film is horror, sci-fi genre the film’s lighting mostly keeps to a greenish blue filter.
The greenish blue filters used to depict a sci-fi horror genre
The film’s character views on whether keeping Dren to grow or to abort her experimentation is reversed later in the film. Before Clive known Elsa has put in her DNA into Dren’s, he attempts to stop Dren from developing by persuading Elsa to abort the experiment and even drowning Dren as a child. Later, Elsa reverts on her view of keeping Dren after Dren kills the cat, which Elsa gave as a gift and slaps her. She reverts back to her old scientist ways and treats Dren as a “specimen” which she extracts the stinger on Dren’s tail, where as Clive has already begun to accept Dren and ends up falling for her. Between these three characters, the film treats the parenting like a metaphor from a helpless child to a rebellious sexually curious teen and into a complete different adult which turns out like a dysfunctional family. Like Tim Robey, “As much a metaphor for parenting as a cautionary thriller about experimentation run amok, the movie doesn’t need a hard-science grounding to work, but its lack of curiosity in even the basic building blocks of this creature’s DNA is a little idiotic, particularly when you compare it to the hideous specificity of, say, Cronenberg’s The Fly.” (Robey, 2010) 
CGI genreated form of the adult Dren

list of illustrations:

Natali, V (2009) Film cover:
Natali, V (2009) The CGI form of Dren as a baby:

Natali, V (2009)The greenish blue filters used to depict a sci- fi horror genre: 

Natali, V (2009) CGI generated form of the adult Dren


Robey, T (2010) Splice, Review (online):

Newman, K (2010) Splice (online):

Bitel, A (2009)  Splice (oniline):

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