Splice is one of those monster movies where the science is kind of more interesting than the scary stuff. In The Fly, I really wanted Brundle to get those telepods to work. In Darkman, I really wanted to see artificial skin last beyond 99 minutes. I loved both movies more than Splice, but it maintains a fun underlying technology, and the monster part does go places most studio films wouldn’t dare.
Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) are scientists wanting to do good, as they all presumably start out. They immediately face the reality that you can’t “go there” in the current social environment, and you can’t go anywhere without money. So they secretly splice their genetic hybrid with human DNA, since their grant is already a lock and what have they got to lose?
They make the science fun and catchy, with techno rock playing while they splice genes over Chinese takeout. It’s fast, relatable language with catch phrases for cinematic shorthand. The actors add a lot of human business to keep the expository scenes interesting, misdirect for some scares and add some gross squirms. It’s pretty good for two scientists in a lab with a monster.
Elsa goes off the rails pretty quickly and Clive’s in double sh**. Not only have they done something illegal and immoral, but he’s got to make sure she doesn’t unleash a monster too. I’m more concerned about the scientists getting in trouble than surviving a monster attack.
It’s pretty obvious and superficial, the maternal creator versus the objective scholar. Elsa’s traumatic background is really heavy handed and obvious. The idea of the divided couple is interesting enough to carry through the broken mechanics of the story.
They manage to move it out of the lab, which makes Splice better than Hollow Man or Deep Blue Sea, but they only move it to an abandoned farm, so that’s nothing special. It’s just a compilation of two standard low budget settings, but two is better than one.
So what about the fun stuff? There’s good creature blood and splatter. The actor/CGI hybrid let’s them do some really crazy stuff with the monster. Some delightful stuff too, like dancing. They show genetic monster boobies! Then, the movie really goes there. I won’t give it a way, but there are plenty of jokes we can make once you see it.