Thursday, 20 October 2011

Splice Review

Fig 1.

Splice (2009) is directed by Vincenzo Natali and is set in the modern day when fears of genetic engineering and possible cloning struck the world and  scientists were reaching new heights. The film is about Dren, an artificially created life form which was created by two scientists Clive Nicoli and Elsa Kast, who discover a way to combine animal DNA with a human’s.

‘The characters in Splice are named after actors in James Whale’s Bride Of Frankenstein; an indication of the approach writer/director Vincenzo Natali (Cube, Cypher) took to the subject of artificial life. Like Mary Shelley, Natali is concerned with scientific ethics — intensified in the 21st century by corporate sponsorship and demand for profitable products from expensive research — but equally troubled by the unique relationship Frankenstein and the monster may have. Signalled by a mid-film location shift from antiseptic corporate lab to run-down Gothic farm, sci-fi turns to horror as the personal failings of the creators and the created lead (inevitably) to violent clashes.’ (Newman NA) This film seems to show that creating a new life and playing god is something which humans were not meant to do, not only does Clive and Elsa’s first creations kill each other due to sudden sex change in the strange animal, but Dren sure enough does the exact same thing and decides to kill her or his ‘father’ and then makes love to its mother. This is a theory developed by the infamous Frued where as we go through puberty we begin to develop strange feelings for our father, if a women, and our mother, if a man, and desire to kill the opposite.

The film begins as a promising and unique take on the story of genetic splicing and the creation of a monster, which begins very well and has much promise. But gradually that idea is lost as strange things begin to happen ‘What began as something fresh degenerates into the same slithery, goopy, bloody horror flick we've seen before. Too bad, because there's undoubtedly an innovative angle to be taken on genetic engineering.’ (Puig 2010) the film then descends into madness as Dren goes through a sex change after having sex with Clive and being walked in on by Elsa. At this point Clive and Elsa think that Dren is dying and come home to see that Dren is dead, they bury her and think that everything is now over. However Dren reappears but this time as a male, and begins killing everyone except for Elsa who is raped in the woods by Dren, which leads to believe there may be a sequal.

‘As in all the best creature features, the creature itself - embodied extraordinarily by Delphine Chaneac and a panoply of weird CG enhancements - is utterly humanised, while the all-human characters are invested with some genuinely horrifying aberrations, so that we are never quite sure where to direct our sympathies or how to orient our moral judgements.’ (Bitel 2009) We can see that Dren is acting out of instinct as she doesn’t understand how society works, but is she realy the monster, well towards the end of the film maybe but it seems that her parents are the ones who are monstrous as they treat her poorly and this is what makes the film interesting and uncomfortable at the same time.


Bitel, A. (2009) (accessed on 15/10/2011)

Newman, K. (Date unknown) (accessed on 15/10/2011)


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