Horror review: Splice

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ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JUNE 2, 2010

On paper, Splice looks promising. First off, it’s directed and cowritten by Vincenzo Natali, who helmed 1997’s compelling Cube, a Saw-inspiring horror thriller about seven strangers stuck in a booby-trapped maze. Splice stars Academy Award winner Adrien Brody of The Pianist fame, as well as Oscar nominee Sarah Polley. Then there’s the fact that Guillermo del Toro, the man behind the astonishing dark fantasy Pan’s Labyrinth, is an executive producer.

Who would have thought talent of that calibre would combine to create such a catastrophic stinker, an absolute shoo-in for multiple honours at the next Razzies? Splice truly is the Catwoman of horror.

This thoroughly annoying movie opens with hotshot genetic engineers and lovers Clive and Elsa (Brody and Polley) overseeing the successful “birth” of a giant caterpillarlike life form, the result of various animals’ DNA being spliced together. The pulsating pink glob goes into violent spasms and dies, but not before displaying a nasty streak by latching on to Elsa’s arm.

This only encourages the couple to take their experiment to the next level—injecting human DNA into the mix—which they are forced to do in secret when corporate overlords pooh-pooh the idea.

Before long, the two hipster geeks create something that looks like a cross between an uncooked supermarket chicken with ostrich legs and a hairless rabbit. Just try not groaning and shaking your head in disbelief as the motherly Elsa frets over this abomination, which she lovingly christens Dren (nerd spelled backward).

Aging at super speed, Dren soon becomes womanlike—except for those legs and that stinger-embedded tail—and takes on the mindset of a bored and rebellious teen. Curious about the world beyond the barn doors of the scientists’ hideout, she escapes, and as Elsa and Clive give futile chase through the woods, he proclaims—in a message potential Splice viewers would be advised to heed—“This is the disaster everyone warns about!”

I just can’t figure out why nobody warned me.

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