With Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley on hand as a couple of hip genetic engineers, you might guess that Splice is a cut above the typical horror film. And it is, to some degree.
The pair play Clive and Elsa, who have created new organisms using the DNA of animals. They called the latest, a pair of icky masses, Fred and Ginger.
Clive and Elsa don't think too much about it, but funding for their experiments comes from a shadowy pharmaceutical company. So when Fred and Ginger don't make it, the pair take a gamble to get back into the good graces of the money men.
Their creation is the humanlike Dren — played as a child by Abigail Chu and as an adult by Delphine Chanéac. At first, Elsa finds that Dren is cuddly cute. On the emotional side, the process of Dren being brought into the world by in-vitro fertilization begins to raise questions in the scientist's mind about her own relationship with Clive.
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But it's the non-human bits that ultimately produce terror. Director Vincenzo Natali uses a blend of computer-generated effects, mechanical effects and human performances to create the monster. There are obvious references to Frankenstein, the classic story of a scientist playing God.
Splice has created a memorable creature in Dren, and Brody and Polley add a level of intelligence to their roles. Like a lot of horror flicks, the film goes a bit too much for the jugular in the end, but until then it's a pretty creepy trip.
Splice retails for $28.98 or $35.99 Blu-ray.