Splice (2009) – Vincenzo Natali

The next title in DK Canada’s Minsters in the Movies book, as I continue my way through the chapter on mad scientists is Splice, starring Adrien Brody and the always exemplary Sarah Polley.

This film is very much the mad scientist take on parenting with all the mistakes and the oedipal complexes taken to a whole new level, the likes of which you can only find in sci-fi/horror. Elsa (Polley) and Clive (Brody) are a pair of scientists who are romantically involved, but equally taken up by their engaging genetics work, which sees the splicing together of various genetic strands from different species for medical purposes.

Both of them know that the next logical step, is also the most forbidden one, using human DNA to assist in the process. After their project is shut down to be reexamined, the pair create their own experiment, and in true parenting fashion, create a new life form.

A new species in fact.

And they call her Dren.

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But even as they study her as an experiment, it becomes very clear that they are the experiment as well. Elsa has a dark history with her own mother, hinted at and never fully revealed, that she fears will impact on her and her child, if she and Clive ever have one together, and Dren is exactly that. And under the guise of science, Elsa’s own parental fears begin to manifest.

I remember seeing this originally, and asking myself what the hell am I watching? But now, coming to it at an older age, when there is child-rearing going on in the place I live, I see it in a whole new way, and while some of it is out there it is only parenting nightmares, and horrors brought to the extreme.

All of this is aided by a solid performance by Delphine Chaneac as Dren, whose own performance is augnebted by some visual effects and makeup work.

This one is not going to be for everyone, because of some of the material in the film, but on this rewatch I actually got more out of it than my previous viewing. That being said, it’s not a fantastic film, but it is interesting.

Both Brody and Polley turn in solid performances, and as mentioned above, Polley is exemplary, she’s always on point, and completely invested in her character. I also enjoyed the fact that David Hewlett has a supporting role in the film.

Still if this isn’t your bag, there are other mad scientist films in this book, as well as other macabre tales for your viewing enjoyment in DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies. So find something to watch this evening!

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