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Splice (2009) Review

Science fiction has a long and rich history of exploring the ethical implications of playing God. In Splice, director Vincenzo Natali takes this concept and gives it a fresh spin by asking what would happen if two scientists created a human-animal hybrid. The result is a fascinating and thought-provoking film that will leave audiences debating the morality of the film’s characters long after the credits have rolled.

Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley star as Clive and Elsa, two scientists who are working on a cutting-edge genetic engineering project. When their superiors tell them to stop playing around with human DNA, they decide to take their experiment one step further and create a new life form. The result is Dren, a beautiful and strange creature that is part human, part animal.

At first, all goes well and Dren quickly becomes a part of the family. But as she grows older, Dren starts to exhibit dangerous and violent behavior. She also begins to develop a sexual attraction to Clive, which leads to a shocking and tragic turn of events.

Splice’s special effects are top notch, the main star obviously being Dren, is done supremely well. It’s different stages of growth are seamless and believable, it truly is a solid show in terms of SFX. The pacing is decent and doesn’t take long to grip your interest, whilst also maintaining a level of ‘what’s next?’ curiosity to move the story along. Gore wise Splice is fairly limited, there is one scene of note that is particularly gory but I’m not going to spoil it for you. There are some moments of tension and suspense, which mostly stem from Dren’s intentions, which are not always clear, this is obviously intentional and works greatly.

Splice is a deeply philosophical movie at it’s core, it’s not just a casual monster movie with big budget, it actually has a moral, or at least lays down the premise for establishing some. It could be construed that fundamentally this is just a modern day retelling of Frankenstein, with the motto: Don’t fuck with Mother Nature! Clearly there are real concerns about genetics and the harm that they could potentially inflict. Now, I won’t get into whether it’s right or wrong, but it’s difficult to come away from watching Splice without asking yourself about this stuff.

Secondly, at what point does a person stop being a person and become an animal? What does it take to be human really? Every human is different so how can you gauge a person to be authentically human in comparison to an animal? In everyday life we know what a person is, plain and simple… But in Splice’s world things aren’t that simple. Splice is a deeply shocking movie in a lot of ways if you understand the implications of it’s story, it would be a horror movie come real if this shit was to ever start happening in our world.

To conclude, Splice comes with a strong recommendation, it has decent acting, solid SFX and a strong, if not very original, storyline. It actually comes across as being really quite Cronenbergian, which for me is no bad thing.

Splice is a well-crafted and intelligent film that is sure to provoke plenty of discussion. The performances are all excellent, with Brody and Polley convincingly conveying the emotional roller coaster ride that their characters are on. And Dren, who is played by both a real life and a CGI creation, is a truly impressive and disturbing creation.

Although it’s not a perfect film, Splice is a brave and ambitious one that is sure to leave a lasting impression.


Clive and Elsa are two young, brilliant genetic engineers who have taken the science of splicing to new and controversial levels. By splicing together human and animal DNA, they have created a new creature that is part human, part animal.

Their creation, Dren, is a beautiful and unique creature that quickly becomes an object of fascination for both Clive and Elsa. However, as Dren grows and develops at an accelerated rate, she soon begins to exhibit disturbing and dangerous behaviors.

As Dren becomes more and more uncontrollable, Clive and Elsa find themselves struggling to contain her. Eventually, they are forced to make a choice that will change all of their lives forever.

Splice is a gripping and provocative thriller that explores the consequences of playing God with Nature.

Movie Details

Director: Vincenzo Natali
Writers: Vincenzo Natali, Antoinette Tony Bryant, Doug Taylor
Actors: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, David Hewlett, Brandon McGibbon
Release Year: 2009