Splice (2009) review

Splice posterDirector: Vincenzo Natali

Starring: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chanéac

ELSA – “You’re in no position to talk to me about right and wrong.”

CLIVE – “And you are? Really? Why the fuck did you want to make her in the first place? Huh? For the betterment of mankind?”

The need to show people the disasters that befall people when trying to play God is something that has been part of horror cinema almost from the beginning.

From as early as the 1910 version of Frankenstein cinema has relished in showing us how things can go massively tits up when we mess around with nature’s natural progression.

Splice is a more modern take on this, but while it may serve as a warning on the dangers of genetic engineering, it also serves as a warning on how horror films with good ideas can somehow end up a bit rubbish.

"I told you we should've applied for GoPro sponsorship"
“I told you we should’ve applied for GoPro sponsorship”

Adrien Brody (i.e. him from The Pianist) and Sarah Polley (i.e. her from loads of Canadian things) are Clive and Elsa, the golden couple of genetic engineering.

There are only two things in life Clive and Elsa love: each other, and creating entirely new species from scratch by splicing the DNA of other animals.

As the film begins the pair have already created two new animals, Fred and Ginger, which essentially look like massive scrotums. The point isn’t how they look though, it’s what this means: they can now create new life.

I hope this is turning you on as much as it's turning me on. Which is not in the slightest
I hope this is turning you on as much as it’s turning me on. Which is not in the slightest

Clive and Elsa want to take the experiment one stage further by creating a new hybrid that includes human DNA, but the company that fund them, N.E.R.D. (that’s Nucleic Exchange Research and Development, not the funk-rock group), isn’t having it.

N.E.R.D. wants Clive and Elsa to start extracting proteins from the ballbag creatures they’ve already created and experiment on those but, worried that this will be boring as shit, they decide to make their own human/animal hybrid in secret.

Their new creation, Dren (nerd backwards: take that, ‘the man’), is growing at an insane rate, so in an attempt to keep her hidden they decide to move to the abandoned farm that Elsa’s late mum used to own.

The Guardians Of The Galaxy sequel was surprisingly low-budget
Karen Gillan was sick of receiving fan parcels addressed to Gail Porter

Over time the couple learn to love Dren like the child they never had, but there’s one little problem: they’re actually pretty shit at science.

You see, Fred and Ginger (the other bawsack-shaped hybrids they created back at the start of the movie) are a little bit fucked up.

Ginger in particular has managed to change gender from female to male, something Clive and Elsa have failed to notice because they were too busy concentrating on Dren.

"Hold on, you've got something on your face... a ruddy big gap"
“Hold on, you’ve got something on your face… a bloody big gap”

Presented to a massive audience as a technological breakthrough, the two creatures – locked in a glass case together – are no longer lovers but mortal enemies. A bloodbath ensues and suddenly our two protagonists don’t look so clever.

It’s a bit late for that, though, as Dren is now the size of an adult female, albeit one with wings like a bat and a barbed tail like a stingray.

She’s also exhibiting the sort of animalistic behaviour you’d expect from… well, an animal. One minute she’s trying to shag her adopted parents, the next she’s trying to kick the shit out of them.

Not sure which of the two this one is
Not sure which of the two this one is

Can Clive and Elsa keep Dren hidden away from their suspicious colleagues, or will things eventually get out of control and end horribly? Not telling. But guess.

Despite it getting relatively half-decent reviews, I just didn’t get along with Splice at all. Both Brody and Polley’s characters are unlikeable: the former is a complete drip and the latter is a power-hungry prick, to the extent that it’s revealed the human DNA used to make Dren was her own.

As a result, it’s really hard to care whether the couple succeed in their experiment, or die trying, or shag each other for the umpteenth time, or manage to raise Dren as their child forever.

That's the first sign of gum disease, that is
That’s the first sign of gum disease, that is

Dren itself, meanwhile, is by no means a classic horror movie monster. Granted, it’s an impressive technical achievement, with impressive CGI used to modify actress Delphine Chanéac’s appearance to give her weird goat-like hooves and wide-apart eyes.

When it comes to evoking a reaction, however, it fails (in my opinion, at least). She doesn’t feel dangerous enough to be scary, she’s too weird to be sexy, she’s too cold to warm your heart.

What we have then, is a monster film with two rubbish protagonists and a rubbish monster. And when was the last time you heard of two wrongs making a right?

Shut up, that’s when.


Splice‘s low rating earns it a place in the notorious TWABM Hall Of Shame. Click here to see what other pishfests made the grade (or, indeed, failed to).

Splice was released in massive quantities for some reason, meaning the UK DVD, UK Blu-ray, US DVD and US Blu-ray are all pretty bloody cheap now.

Alternatively if you’re an Amazon Prime UK customer, you can stream it for free on Amazon Prime Instant Video.



Splice Blu-rayI know what you’re thinking: that review has just sold you on Splice.

Luckily, I’m giving away my Blu-ray copy to one unlucky bastard lucky reader who enters the competition below. Entrants must live in the UK and the closing date will be midnight on Thursday, April 2.

I need you to enter your email and home addresses for the sake of convenience (so I can let you know you’ve won and don’t have to hassle you to find out where to send it), but rest assured all entries are deleted after the competition ends and you won’t be added to any mailing lists.

2 thoughts on “Splice (2009) review

  1. I actually liked this film. Yes, the leads were pretty unlikable, but I think that that was the point. I’d take the copy off your hands, but I live in Canada, hehe.

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