Despite the fancy of-the-moment talk about genetic manipulation, cloning and whatnot, there’s a strangely retro vibe to Splice. With unidentifiable urban and rural locations (a.k.a. Canada), moments of sexual perversity and the “mad scientists play God and get their comeuppance” plot, it’s like a flashback to early David Cronenberg, only done by a lesser director who doesn’t quite know how to pull off the creepy effects he’s striving for.
As husband-and-wife geneticists Clive and Elsa, Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley seem equally unsure what to do with their roles. They’ve been creating new creatures using manipulated animal DNA in hopes of harvesting miracle drugs. When a big show-and-tell for the stockholders goes horribly awry, it looks as if they’ll lose funding. Elsa, a modern-day Eve luring Clive into temptation, persuades him to continue their experiments in secret using human DNA. What could go wrong?
The resulting creature, Dren (Abigail Chu and later Delphine Chanéac), matures and learns at an alarming rate, and pretty soon it’s like The Day of the Dolphin crossed with It’s Alive, only with a twisted sexual vibe. And, as this relies more and more heavily on conventional horror moves, everyone is forced to act like the dumb slasher-movie teenagers who wander into the woods to have sex. There are some really creepy moments, but director Vincenzo Natali doesn’t push the perversity hard enough to take it into the deep twistedness that Cronenberg exploits so effectively.
Cast and crew