An unsettling blend of science fiction and horror, this cautionary tale from Canadian filmmaker Natali (whose 1997 debut, Cube, remains a cult favourite) is more inventive than the big-budget pap that’s usually screened at our multiplexes.
Evidently inspired by the legend of Frankenstein as well as the body-horror films of David Cronenberg, Splice explores the dangers and ethical implications of genetic tinkering.
With the skill of an experienced raconteur, Natali employs some truly hallucinatory visuals to narrate the story of a pair of romantically involved scientists (Brody-Polley) who create a human-animal hybrid in their laboratory.
The growth of the newborn creature (French actress Delphine Chaneac, consistently raw and natural) accelerates at an alarming rate, eventually leading to psycho-sexual tension with her ‘parents’.
Throughout, the plot works on a metaphorical level without ever getting ponderous. The complex parent-offspring relationship is delineated with deft yet lacerating strokes.
At times, though, the verbose script tends to adopt a hectoring tone. Also, the climactic scenes devolve into a generic monster-on-the-rampage confrontation.
Oscar-winning Adrien Brody and Canadian actress Sarah Polley — herself an accomplished director (Away from Her) — play their parts with the requisite amount of reserve and angst.
Catch up with this provocative mutant movie before it’s too late.