Thursday, June 17, 2010

Short Review: Splice (2010)

Advertised as a genetic freakshow monster-flick, Vincenzo Natali's Splice is actually something far more darkly peculiar and creepily absorbing. It still chugs too much like an icky genre schlocker at times, but for the willing participant, it's that rare horror film that eschews cheap thrills in favor of discomforting topicality and psychological debilitation.

Like a recently discovered David Cronenberg effort from thirty years ago, Splice takes a reasonably familiar horror formula and turns it on its head, morphing into a disturbing resource of violence and sexual physicality, not to mention social concern.

Like Videodrome (which loosely examined the effects of raw violence on television), Splice similarly deals in the 21st century realm of genetic science and its disturbing future. Rather than simply crafting a slasher, it's fortunately a lot smarter and a lot more distinguished.

Unexpectedly, just as the film giddily taps into those dark, treacherously unsettling waters, it reverts back to its genre casing, limping to a mute, dishonest and predictable conclusion that was set up an hour ago. Such a folly could be excused more readily had the rest of the film in question been as proportionately vapid and tasteless - we'll take what we can get. [B-]


  1. Glad to read that you (sorta) liked it, and you couldn't be more right with the Cronenberg comparison.

    I actually lost a bet at the office when I guessed as to whether a co-worker would like it or not (she said it was ridiculous). I think your entire enjoyment of the film comes down to how much you're willing to run with that third act.

    Great post!

  2. Well first off, thanks for reading the review.

    I actually loved a good majority of the third act, but it was that whole "gender change at the farm" scene that ruined it for me.

    It was like the filmmakers couldn't go through with what they started, (or didn't know how to) so they took the high road.

    Without those last 5-6 minutes or so, it's a B, B+ easy. It has so much more going on under the hood than your average horror film (no matter the conclusion), so I dig it for that.

  3. My pleasure - wow you were up early!

    That gender change was actually something I liked about the film. It had already led us down this weird, winding road...what's one more left turn? Plus they'd already aluded to it with the genetic changes that happened with Fred and Ginger.

    This is far from deep theatre, but given the very stale year its been at the movies, I'll gladly take it. It stayed a solid B for me.