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Starring: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chaneac
Writers: Vincenzo Natali/Antoinette Terry Bryant/Doug Taylor
Director: Vincenzo Natali
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

Splice is most likely to be the one really interesting and creative movie that is released this summer. It doesn't have the Hollywood feel; it's not a big budget star studded affair and contrary to what the trailers may lead you to believe, it isn't action packed or even scary. Vincenzo Natali has created a quiet science fiction story that is rich in originality and some interesting ideas, but seems to missing something that will most likely only endear it to a small audience.

Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley star as Clive and Elsa, a boyfriend/girlfriend science duo who specialize in gene splicing, mixing many different specimens together to form completely new lifeforms. Their initial goal is to create and synthesize a protein that will revolutionize medicine by being able to cure diseases found in livestock. However, being scientists and always wanting to test the boundaries, they decide to create another lifeform that mixes in human DNA, which is an ethical no no in the current age. They do this under the nose of the pharmaceutical company they work for, and initially they only want to create an embryo just to see if they can do it...but if they stopped there that wouldn't exactly make for much of a movie, now would it?

The specimen is born and begins to rapidly age, eventually looking very human-like (with some exceptions, namely a tail with a venomous spike at the end of it). They name it Dren and instead of treating it like a science experiment, their maternal instincts kick in and they eventually move her to Elsa's old family farm to care for it. However, Mother Nature is a tricky beast, and they begin to experience complications that they could not have seen coming. Cue thunder.

Sounds like a cool idea for a sci-fi infused horror/thriller right? Well, if you watched the trailer, that's probably what you think it is...and you are dead wrong. With the exception of the last twenty minutes or so of the movie, there is no action here. We as the audience just follow Clive and Elsa as they first create Dren and then begin to love it like a real human, and the complications and confusions that come from this (and yes, if your mind is like mine and you're thinking what I think you are, that totally does happen). Now, knowing one of Natali's previous films Cube, I had an idea of what I was getting into.

Still, Splice goes at what seems like a snail's pace. To put it bluntly, nothing really happens. There is a plot to some extent, but as the movie trudges along, it doesn't seem to go anywhere. However, there are some cool moments involved, and watching Clive and Elsa become almost like parents to this new species is pretty intriguing. Elsa especially treats it like any other human, teaching it how to spell and putting makeup on her. Clive is initially against it, wanting to end the experiment from the beginning, but begins to soften and there's an excellent/off-putting scene where he teaches Dren how to dance. Yup, that happens and either you're going to think it's entertaining or you're going to feel really really awkward watching it.

Considering it was low budget, the CGI and effects in Splice are really well done and the movie itself looks good. It's simple, making use of very few settings, but since it's about Clive, Elsa, and Dren, you don't need fancy sets to make it work. The script and the acting, though, were a little suspect. I actually found myself laughing at some of the dialogue and events in the film, and I don't know if I was supposed to be. I was under the impression Splice was meant to be taken seriously, but it reaches B-movie levels at times and it ended up taking me out of the film.

To summarize it better than I just did, I admire the hell out of Splice. It's a cool concept and has a breath of originality that is rare nowadays, especially for the Summer movie season. However, it moves at a really slow pace and the writing and acting varies from good to laughibly bad through out the film. Although it begins well and has a crazy ending (which you won't see coming, at least I didn't), Splice all together is not something I could recommend to everyone. People are either going to love it or hate it and the summer movie crowd especially will probably not give a crap. If you want to watch something with some balls to it though, give Splice a chance. Hell, I can at least guarantee it's better than Marmaduke.

Final Verdict:
C+




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