Splice

Read BC’s positive review here:

As an online critic, I try my best to avoid dropping “spoilers” in my reviews. That can be harder than you might think. Take Moon, for example. Am I allowed to mention the fact that Sam Rockwell finds another Sam Rockwell out in space? It’s a twist that happens in the first half hour, and it’s a plot point revealed in the movie trailer, but to cite it in a movie review could still spoil that twist for someone who doesn’t watch trailers or read entertainment news. Or take the films of David Lynch. How do you review a David Lynch film without divulging any “spoilers”? The whole trippy movie is just one big spoiler.

And how do you review Splice without discussing its final 20 minutes, an ending so bizarre, pervy, and ill-advised, it completely defines the rest of the movie? It’s an ending that had the Sundance Film Festival audience giggling in bewilderment. It’s an ending that took the movie where nobody wanted it to go. And yet, bound by the constraints of the “spoiler” code, I am not permitted to mention any of it. It’s a sad world we live in.

But let me back up a little bit. As Splice begins, scientists Adrian Brody and Sarah Polley are on the verge of a huge medical breakthrough: the splicing of animal and human DNA. When the plug gets pulled on their research project, Brody and Polley decide to secretly conduct the DNA-splicing experiments on their own. After several failed attempts, they finally manage to create a human-animal hybrid that looks like a big, gross tadpole. While deliberating whether or not to put it out of its misery, a second creature bursts from the gross tadpole, Alien-style. The stage two creature looks like a little humanoid with T-rex arms and a tail stinger, and Polley thinks it’s cute, so she decides to hide it and raise it as a daughter. (I’m completely serious.)

Parental angst ensues as the mutant girl baby begins to go through several different metamorphosis over her relatively short life-span. Polley does her best by putting her in frilly dresses and attempting to teach her to read. Brody walks around flaring his nostrils and doing his whole plaintive eyebrows thing. And the mutant daughter (a mixture of CGI, and makeups by Nicotero and Berger) makes adorable chirping attempts to communicate with her new parents. Playing out like a cross between Harry and the Hendersons and a Learning Channel special on raising mutant babies, Splice is way too melodramatic to be considered a horror movie. I kept waiting for it to make the jump into genre territory, but it insisted on clinging to a weird dramatic vibe throughout.

All the way up until the end. Oh, that ending. It’s hard to believe the script made it past Brody and Polley’s agents. Maybe nobody bothered to read the last 20 pages. I don’t know. But I do know that in the annals of bad movie history, the batshit crazy, Jeepers-Creepers-via-Flowers-in-the-Attic ending of Splice will always be remembered. If not fondly.

 

Official Score