a review by Nalini Haynes

Elsa (Sarah Polley) and Clive (Adrien Brody) are two biochemists gene splicing – hence the name Splice – in attempts to solve various ills of mankind. They create two new life forms, Ginger and Fred, who produce proteins beneficial to medical science. The next step in the process is to combine the same DNA with human DNA, but Elsa and Clive are forbidden to pursue this path. Elsa is determined to continue anyway, producing some DNA from a ‘Jane Doe’, but is later exposed as being the donor. Clive loves Elsa to the point of weakness, letting Elsa have her own way regardless of the potential consequences. They are successful and Dren, a human/animal hybrid is created.

Fred and Ginger have some surprises in store for their research team, which end in disaster. The disaster occurs after Dren’s ‘birth’, but both scientists seem oblivious to the potential ramifications of this ancestry for Dren.

The story focuses on Elsa’s relationships, especially her relationship with her mother and Dren. Elsa becomes emotionally involved with Dren, forgetting this was supposed to be a scientific experiment.

Splice begins as serious science fiction blended with some philosophy, asking questions about ethics, morality and consequences. Later an increasingly fantasy theme is blended in the story, with more than a hint of horror. There is no gratuitous gore in this movie.

The special effects are good but not spectacular; they certainly meet the needs of the story. The plot is well thought out and well paced but not particularly creative or original. I found I wasn’t surprised by Splice, however hubby thought there were a few surprises especially around the climax and conclusion. If you’re looking for a science fiction fix, especially if you like science to be challenged by ethics and morality, then this is a good movie to choose.


This review was previously published in Dark Matter issue 2, January 2011, and predated on this website to reflect the original publication date.

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Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


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