Film Review: SPLICE.

Directed by Vincent Natali
Written by Vincent Natali, Antoinette Terry Bryan and Douglas Taylor
Starring: Adrian Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chaneac, Brandon McGibbon, David Hewlett
Released: May 2010
Running Time: 107 minutes

God help me, I’ve often said to my husband that I wish Hollywood movies were not so formulaic—that they were not so satisfied to continually fit round pegs into round holes. Now I see the flip side of that statement. SPLICE is a film where you want to say, pick a genre, any genre, and stick with it: see it through. I expected a cowboy to saunter in before it ended. Despite this minor frustration, it had enough ideas to keep me interested—off and on. If you throw in everything but the proverbial kitchen sink, you’re bound to come up with a film that has moments of interest. Science fiction, yes. Fantasy, sure. Romance, okay—even if it is interspecies. Domestic drama, perhaps most fully realized in SPLICE. Good golly.

PLOT: Clive (Adrian Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) are married scientists who are attempting to create a hybrid to serve mankind. The evil (is there any other kind) corporation funding their research is content to stop right there. Their “product” is ripe for exploitation. Or products because they’ve managed to create both male and female versions of the organism. Elsa, who has told Clive she doesn’t want children, injects her own and a cocktail of other types of DNA, into another organism. The final product, called Dren, embodies every species of life on earth and several fictional ones as well. The new “parents” struggle with raising and finally subduing their offspring. The initially repulsive creature takes on more attractive features as the child quickly becomes an adult (Delphine Chaneac) complicating the couples’ roles as father and mother. First it is Clive who wants to deep-six the experiment. Than Elsa. Then the evil corporation itself. Despite its fantastical trappings, much of SPLICE is about parenthood. But some of the more interesting questions it raised were never answered.

Patti Abbott writes crime fiction short stories. She hosts a look at Forgotten Books every Friday with readers, writers and reviewers at She hopes you’ll join in.