*SPOILER ALERT* SOME PLOT DETAILS MAY BE REVEALED! *SPOILER ALERT*
Vincenzo Natali’s Splice opens with the birth of a colossal penis.
No, that’s not my twisted way of referring to Adrien Brody’s nose, but rather the honest to God truth.
The movie begins with a clever first-person shot from the fish-eyed perspective of the penis in question, where we are then, literally; carried off to an examination room in the laboratory where said penis is introduced to…
Another giant penis.
"Ma'am, I must advise, I honestly don't think you can handle that much banana..."
Did I mention that the giant penises have “vaginas” for tongues?
Well, they do, and they aren’t shy about whipping ‘em out for all to see either.
Kind of like these guys.
Splice is an odd movie.
It wasn’t really a horror movie in the proper sense, (very little shocks, scares, or tension) and it wasn’t really all that good or bad.
It was just plain weird.
To be truthful, I did see the movie in an empty theater, with a friend who at times was more concerned with telling me which anime the movie reminded him of, so that may have skewed my impression of the movie, (no audience reactions and what not) but for this article, I’m gonna’ stick to my guns.
Splice is a movie about a stupid, crazy bitch, her equally stupid boyfriend, (who she just happens to have by the BALLS) and of course, their animal-human hybrid that wants to fuck both of them.
Sorry, just spoiled the movie for you.
My thoughts aside, Splice is actually a rather straightforward film about a parenthood and control, both things that our STUPID protagonists fail to earn the right to wield over, well, anything really.
On a side note, do you know how you can tell Splice is a Canadian, or at least not-American film?
Because the lead characters are named fucking Elsa and Clive, that’s how.
Pictured: Elsa and Clive.
If I may diverge for a moment, I just need to vent my frustrations with the main characters.
Both Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley performed their roles ably within the confines of the script, however whoever was in charge of the wardrobe and some of the set design, was trying just a little bit too hard.
According to the world of Splice, genetic engineers are the hippest people in the world.
They wear designer hipster gear, listen to techno and jazz, have fabulous apartments, sleep on futon’s with giant manga prints hung over them, eat Japanese candy every day, and oh yeah, they drive an ironic and unpretentious beater car.
"Quickly! To The Hipster-Mobile!"
In essence, our protagonists come across as Manhattanites or some shit, while living in a snowy podunk town with seemingly only one skyscraper downtown.
No wait, I’m not done venting just yet!
Elsa is a stupid fucking bitch.
I didn’t like her from the film’s opening moments, and you can bet I straight-up hated her ass by the final reel.
It is hinted at that she had an abusive, negligent mother, and that may be why she is so fucked up, both as a person and as a pseudo-parent, but even so, she was very hard to deal with throughout.
Clive on the other hand, was not so bad.
That doesn’t mean he wasn’t stupid.
Or whipped to shit.
Now just replace the Azn girl for a stupid bitch, and there you have it: Splice!
That being said, I won’t question Clive’s questionable logic at times during the movie, seeing as the stupid/whipped combo actually explains that away pretty conveniently for me.
You see, early in the film, Clive is just whipped, but not stupid.
Elsa does things against his better judgement I.E. illegally creating Dren, the human-animal hybrid, and he does nothing to stop her.
About halfway in though, after Dren’s already grown up, Clive starts to get dumb.
Going into the movie, I assumed Dren was going to rape Clive.
Turns out, I was off by a bit, as he fucks her consensually, and then later, Dren rapes Elsa.
That’s right, there are sex scenes with Dren, and yes, they are weird.
Weird may not be the right word though, ’cause I found myself laughing at a lot of scenes in Splice that I think I really wasn’t supposed to.
For instance, there is one real gory scene in the movie, and all throughout it, I found myself laughing out loud at how over-the-top it was.
The difference is, you're SUPPOSED to laugh at this.
Then during the scene where Dren and Clive share a dance, I shook my head and snorted in dismissal.
And the scene where Clive fucked Dren? You better believe I was saying “what the fuck?”
Splice is a movie that asks you to, above all, watch what happens.
It doesn’t so much tell a story, or deliver a message, as it does drop scenes in your lap and simply ask you to watch.
It’s like watching a documentary about a dysfunctional couple raising a down’s syndrome kid.
Pictured: A great fuckin' movie.
The character of Dren is the centerpiece of the film, and rightfully so.
She is presented to us, first as a horseshoe crab shaped whatsit.
Pictured: One of the coolest animals in all of existence.
Then it is later revealed to us that this form was just a cocoon, housing a hairless rabbit/chicken looking thing that likes Japanese candy and has a nasty poison stinger for a tail.
A month later, Dren takes on the appearance of a big-headed, chicken-legged, bald kid with her eyes on the side of her head like a deer.
Elsa begins dressing her like a human at this point, and Dren demonstrates clear signs of intelligence by spelling words that she hasn’t been taught.
Despite this, she never really speaks, with most of her vocalizations sounding like a cross between a squirrel and a monkey.
One thing about Dren’s intelligence that I found interesting to note, was the fact that the filmmakers wisely made the decision to make her smart, without being overwhelmingly so.
In many of these “science run amok” films, often times the title villain or creature displays levels of intelligence that seem overly convenient, or forced I.E. Species and The Lawnmower Man.
Splice never attempts to do this with Dren, instead the makers seemed to be content having their creature be a quick learner, and very smart, but never really approaching the level of a grown human.
To that end, the film succeeds in making Dren a fairly sympathetic character in that she is at the mercy of her dim-witted and psychotic “parents.”
Dren’s “adult stage” looks like Sinead O’Connor with a tail, and chicken legs.
Sinead O'Connor circa 1990
Her eyes adopt a more binocular style alignment, definitely making her seem more human.
The actress that played her, Delphine Chaneac deserves some praise, as her nearly entirely physical performance as the oddly shaped Dren is utterly believable, and very interesting to watch.
Her movements have an animalistic quality to them that is sharp, alert, and seemingly purposeful in a sense that is altogether foreign to the average human.
Have you ever stared at a dog or a gorilla and tried to figure out what was going on in their head?
Well, that same sense of, “what the fuck are they looking at?” is evident in Dren, and it went a long way towards helping me to forget that she was indeed a special effects construct.
I will say this though, when the full extent of Dren’s transformation is finally revealed, my friend called it about a minute beforehand, to which I responded “you better not be right, man.”
Seriously, I was really hoping they didn’t take the “splicing” part of the storyline as far as they did, but oh well.
Splice is a movie with a lot of little mysteries floating around in it, but due to excessive telegraphing and leaving of breadcrumbs, most of them are revealed to the audience somewhat prematurely.
In that sense, there aren’t really that many surprises in the movie, but the movie gives you enough incentive to keep watching anyway.
Protip: Don’t see Splice with someone that calls out what everyone thinks is going to happen. Chances are they’ll spoil every surprise for you.
At one point I even said aloud:
“Aw man, they can’t kill him, that’s such a cliche. Besides, he didn’t do anything wrong, other than be a douche.”
Sure enough, Mr. Douche was dead about a minute later.
Like seemingly every movie I talk about on this blog, Splice was not a bad movie, it was just weird, flat, and filled with dumb characters doing even dumber things.
Oh yeah, and weird sex, lots and lots of weird sex…
Sorry if you thought this was gonna’ be a review, my mind was just a little bit too jumbled for me to properly compose one.
Filed under: Movies, Uncategorized, Adrien Brody, analysis, Anne Heche, Canadian, Clive, Cube, Delphine Chaneac, Dren, Elsa, Friday the 13th, Hip, Hipsters, horror, Italian, movie, Rain Man, review, Sarah Polley, Sci-fi, Splice, Vincenzo Natali