Poll: IT CAME FROM NETFLIX! Splice

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When I was growing up I would hear of stories, movies or episodes of television that were touted as 'not for the faint of heart.' They promised thrills and surprises aimed at an adult audience, one that could handle the nature of the material. Not that they wouldn't have nightmares afterward, mind you, just that they could handle those nightmares. Had Splice come out in such a time, it definitely would have been called not for the faint of heart. I'd go one step further, though, and say it's not for the slow of brain, either.

Courtesy Gaumont

Have you ever seen scientists acting or treated like rock stars? That's the best way to describe Clive and Elsa. Iconoclastic, brilliant and possessed of the particular kind of crazy that makes advancements in modern science possible, they're splicing together designer organisms for the benefit of a major bio-tech firm interested in the next big pharmacuetical breakthrough. Recent success has shown them the potential of splicing human DNA into the mix to provide clues for things like curing cancer and growing organs. Their sponsors, fearing a moral backlash, put the kibosh on that idea. So Clive and Elsa do it anyway. The experiment starts going awry almost immediately, but does result in a viable organism. Her name is Dren.

If I were to give a single piece of advice when it comes to Splice, I'd say go into it without any expectations. The movie's plot, characters and structure pull the viewer in and carry them along while teasing their mind with questions of morality and scientific advancement. It doesn't necessary spoon-feed you answers, but it doesn't assume you don't know what's going on either. It's the kind of movie that rewards, rather than punishes, higher thought aimed in its direction. It's one of those movies you'll be thinking about after you see it, and any revulsion you feel will probably be aimed at the subtleties of the subject matter rather than the movie itself. This isn't a cheap, knock-off creature feature, folks. This is thoroughly cerebral and deeply disturbing science fiction.

Courtesy Gaumont
Something made a nummy noise, and it wasn't Clive or Elsa.

Director Vincenzo Natali provides the movie with its very careful pace and nuanced mood. It's clear that in telling this story, he not only wants to entertain, he wants to raise questions. And the questions end up being as shocking as the entertainment. How much is science being held back by old ideas and antique sentiments? While the motivations of Clive and Elsa's superiors might be rooted firmly in finances, the impetus for their reluctance to back the scientists up is framed in the notion that "there would be a moral outrage." As much as the duo extol the virtues and potential benefits of their work, it's unfortunately true that champions of 'decency' and religion would be inconsolably enraged and disturbed at the very idea of using human material in designer organisms. The movie, however, never really addresses this issue and keeps its focus tightly on our pair of protagonists.

Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody play Elsa and Clive as very smart people with bright ideas and disapproving superiors, forced to go rogue and underground to make those ideas come to life. But over and above their idealism and intelligence is the fact that these are very much people, with all that entails. Sure, they're brilliant, attractive and have great attitudes, but they're also flawed human beings with neuroses and insecurities. A lot of movies in this vein can dial down the human element to emphasize the monstser or monsters in play, but Splice doesn't do that. It never feels like a firm line is drawn with one side of the argument in the right while the other is wrong. It's left up to us to decide, and at the same time, we're presented with the question of Dren.

Courtesy Gaumont
Beautiful and disturbing at the same time, like a lot of stuff on DeviantArt.

For all of its highbrow ideas and good characterisation, this is still essentially a monster movie, and what a monster we have! Dren's evolution happens before our very eyes, and without speaking a word she conveys volumes of emotion and information. As she matured I was reminded of the otherworldiness of a young Milla Jovovich in the Fifth Element, with the ways Dren moves and interacts with the world around her. This feeling is deepened with the subtle blending of great acting on the part of Delphine Chaneac and CGI never overwhelms the humanity of the actors. Dren is, like her 'parents', a very human creature, but is also so inhuman that it's always quite clear we're dealing with something different, something curious and intelligent... something thoroughly dangerous.

I've tried my utmost to avoid spoiling anything, because Splice is a movie best served without preamble or preconception. Like I said, leave your expectations at the door when this one starts. Unlike a lot of modern movies out there, it doesn't hesitate to engage the mind while simultaneously entertaining and occasionally horrifying the senses. It never plays its odd elements for cheap scares, and disturbs in a way that's much more David Cronenberg's The Fly than anything dreamt up by Wes Craven or even Stephen King. It's a superlative piece of work, probably the best science fiction film I've seen since Moon, and definitely, definitely worth a place on your Netflix queue.

Josh Loomis can't always make it to the local megaplex, and thus must turn to alternative forms of cinematic entertainment. There might not be overpriced soda pop & over-buttered popcorn, and it's unclear if this week's film came in the mail or was delivered via the dark & mysterious tubes of the Internet. Only one thing is certain... IT CAME FROM NETFLIX.

I wouldn't say it's necessarily for the faint of heart--my 13-year-old sister saw it with no issues--but it definitely is an interesting film.

As always, a great review. :)

Top notch, as always. You've reminded me I should go get this movie, and add it to my shelf. I had temporarily forgotten about this little gem.

Hmm... I've heard different opinion's on this film. Some people really like, others don't which is why I have held off from seeing it for awhile. I think i'l probably check it out now however.

Very well written and descriptive review! Well done Blue :D

I loved this film but my friend was disturbed by it. As usual great review, but I fear your lack of spoilers held back many great emotions the film must have thrown your way.

Maybe a spoiler section at the end where you can tell us your reaction to

2fish:
I loved this film but my friend was disturbed by it. As usual great review, but I fear your lack of spoilers held back many great emotions the film must have thrown your way.

Maybe a spoiler section at the end where you can tell us your reaction to

Deeply chilling and genuinely disturbing. I loved how there'd been over an hour of general creepiness and some WTF moments before that last ten minutes when everything goes absolutely apeshit. It's great stuff, imo.

BlueInkAlchemist:

2fish:
I loved this film but my friend was disturbed by it. As usual great review, but I fear your lack of spoilers held back many great emotions the film must have thrown your way.

Maybe a spoiler section at the end where you can tell us your reaction to

Deeply chilling and genuinely disturbing. I loved how there'd been over an hour of general creepiness and some WTF moments before that last ten minutes when everything goes absolutely apeshit. It's great stuff, imo.

See, I disliked the last 10 minutes or so. It was all going so... differently, I guess, to the traditional horror movie formula


That spoiler is actually longer than the rest of the post. If you haven't seen the film, please don't read it.

Legends is on Instant now.

Go with that!

Well written review. But that's like saying that grass is green.

Btw, the only thing I really liked about the movie was Dren. Good thing Dren is a big part of it!

This film is one of few movies that I purchased on DVD after I saw it in the theater. That rarely happens with me, especially lately. I'd love to talk about (read: praise) many of the things more deeply in this film (like mommy issues), but I don't want to spoil anything so I'll keep my trap shut.

I'm noticing that these reviews sometimes contain something used in EttM. In this review, specifically, it was mentioning DeviantArt. I don't know if they're homages or callbacks, or simply done subconsciously, but they irk me a little. Otherwise, another great review.

Flamezdudes:
Hmm... I've heard different opinion's on this film. Some people really like, others don't which is why I have held off from seeing it for awhile. I think i'l probably check it out now however.

Very well written and descriptive review! Well done Blue :D

Yeah this movie tends to polarize people. My ex and I loved it but my best friend and coworker both hated it. Definitely rent it if you're thinking about watching it.

JUMBO PALACE:

Flamezdudes:
Hmm... I've heard different opinion's on this film. Some people really like, others don't which is why I have held off from seeing it for awhile. I think i'l probably check it out now however.

Very well written and descriptive review! Well done Blue :D

Yeah this movie tends to polarize people. My ex and I loved it but my best friend and coworker both hated it. Definitely rent it if you're thinking about watching it.

I think I could understand why people wouldn't like it. I think that if people go into Splice expecting a typical monster movie, they'll be disappointed. Same goes for people expecting straight-forward hard science fiction in the vein of Moon. Going into it expecting a blend of the two, or with no expectations whatsoever, will enjoy it a great deal more.

Just my $0.02.

BlueInkAlchemist:

JUMBO PALACE:

Flamezdudes:
Hmm... I've heard different opinion's on this film. Some people really like, others don't which is why I have held off from seeing it for awhile. I think i'l probably check it out now however.

Very well written and descriptive review! Well done Blue :D

Yeah this movie tends to polarize people. My ex and I loved it but my best friend and coworker both hated it. Definitely rent it if you're thinking about watching it.

I think I could understand why people wouldn't like it. I think that if people go into Splice expecting a typical monster movie, they'll be disappointed. Same goes for people expecting straight-forward hard science fiction in the vein of Moon. Going into it expecting a blend of the two, or with no expectations whatsoever, will enjoy it a great deal more.

Just my $0.02.

Actually, I despised the movie, and I had no expectations going in. The reason I hated it was because the characters had zero common sense. After the first scene where the main characters are in their apartment together discussing... something (Dren maybe, I don't remember) some of the dialogue by the female lead (not Dren, the other one, Adrian Brody's girlfriend) made me realize exactly what I was in for. After that point, I called every single thing that happened after that. The movie got so predictable because once you realize how moronic the characters are, you're able to guess correctly what they're going to do, because if you've seen one horror movie with stupid character, you've seen them all, and this movie is no different.

BlueInkAlchemist:

2fish:
I loved this film but my friend was disturbed by it. As usual great review, but I fear your lack of spoilers held back many great emotions the film must have thrown your way.

Maybe a spoiler section at the end where you can tell us your reaction to

Deeply chilling and genuinely disturbing. I loved how there'd been over an hour of general creepiness and some WTF moments before that last ten minutes when everything goes absolutely apeshit. It's great stuff, imo.

I'm assuming this was the bit where:

Because that bit had my jaw hanging slack in shock.

I didn't care for the movie much. I really didn't care for the human characters through any of the movie. Plus, even though I knew Else was going to be the one to want to keep Dren, her character at the beginning made it seem like she wouldn't be the type to want to keep Dren because she said she had no interest in kids; Dren is basically a child. Also, I felt if the movie was going to go where it went in the last act, the whole movie should've been about that instead of just throwing it in at the end.

Well this has re-piqued my interest in this film, I'll definitely have to check it out soon.

 

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