Friday, November 5, 2010

Movie Review: Splice

Man. I’m not sure how to go about reviewing this weird fucking movie.

It was one of those films that I had heard a lot of positive things about and then waited too long to check it out. I don’t think anybody had anything negative to say about it, and that is usually a bad sign because my expectations tend to get too high.

Splice is about a couple (like, the boinking variety) of biologists who are working on a project to create organisms that will produce cures for human afflictions. The couple is played by Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley, both of whom I like a whole lot. They develop these pink turd-looking slugs that everybody gets really excited about. Apparently when the slugs (Fred and Ginger) mate, it will produce magic cure-all drugs. Alzheimer’s and cancer and whatever else could be things of the past. Brody and Polley have spliced together all kinds of different genes to create these slugs, so naturally their God-playing must be punished.

In a really, really creepy and icky way.

The big corporation (so evil!) that our intrepid biologists work for decides to stop the project before the experimentation can extend to human genes. Naturally, that would piss some people off. Of course, the big corporation’s small-mindedness pisses our couple off so they decide to go ahead with the integration of human genes – you know, just to see if they can do it. They’ll create some little throwaway organism just to be sure it’s possible and then, well – throw it away.

I’m sure you can guess how that goes.

What you probably won’t guess is how things turn out with Fred and Ginger, the gross turd slugs. I’m not going to spoil it, but it’s where the movie really starts to get crazy-go-nuts. Calling it a disaster would be an understatement.

Because of the Fred and Ginger mishap, the big corporation is very angry and is taking full control of Brody and Polley’s research lab. This is bad because naturally the science-minded couple totally failed to exterminate the gross human/chicken thing they created, instead deciding to put it in a dress and teach it fucking Scrabble; so they have to figure out what to do with it. So they name it Dren and take it to the farm. Because why not?

The rest of the movie revolves around all of the terrible (seriously – you don’t even know terrible until you see Splice) things that happen as a result of the couple not just incinerating the gross freak of nature they created. I’m not going to spoil anything, so we’ll just stop right there with the plot.

The acting is tremendous. Polley and Brody are the only ones that really matter in the movie, and they both play their roles perfectly. Brody stood out to me the most because if you don’t buy his character the whole thing falls apart, particularly with the, “Holy shit, that did not just happen!” moment towards the end. All of his feelings and motivations are so reasonable and sympathetic up to that point that you just go along with the unbelievable God-defying act that occurs because you’ve gotten to like and understand the guy so much.

Please don’t think I’m overlooking Sarah Polley’s performance - she’s great, it’s just that her character is very definitely supposed to be the female half of the experience. I couldn’t relate quite as much.

There are some other actors around, most notably a guy who plays Adrien Brody’s younger brother who may well be Adrien Brody’s younger brother. I think they overdid it a little bit by giving him the exact same haircut as Brody. There are also a couple of representatives of the big corporation that play their roles just fine. They just don’t really matter compared to the two protagonist’s role in the horrible, creepy proceedings.

The movie has very nice effects. It looks like the filmmakers used practical effects wherever they could. This worked particularly well with Fred and Ginger and lent Dren a lot more creepiness and believability than it otherwise would have had. The parts where the Dren creature is still a little girl are just hard to watch, what with the realism and all the weird fucking sounds it makes.

As far as the score goes, I barely noticed any music in the movie other than the silly montage where they are trying to figure out how to make Dren. It’s some kind of awful techno.

If you are a fan of things that make you uncomfortable to watch, then you need to see Splice. It is a fascinating experience and proof that originality can still be found in Hollywood.
4 out of 5 Maggoty Duels to the Death

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