movie film review | chris tookey


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  Splice Review
Tookey's Rating
7 /10
Average Rating
6.00 /10
Clive - Adrien Brody , Elsa - Sarah Polley
Full Cast >

Directed by: Vincenzo Natali
Written by: Vincenzo Natali, Antoinette Terry Bryant and Douglas Taylor

Released: 2009
Origin: Canada/ France/ US
Colour: C
Length: 107

PRO Reviews

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This creature-feature is both an homage to and a worthy entry in the monster flick catalog. It's horrifying, mesmerizing, and always spine-tingling. There are images in Splice that will haunt my dreams. Some of them for very different reasons than you might expect. And that's the most entertaining piece of Splice; it's just so unexpectedly unimaginable.
(Brandon Lee Tunnehy,
I cannot begin to describe the creepy, giddy, squirm-inducing madness that Natali has conceived with co-screenwriters Antoinette Terry Bryant and Doug Taylor. There are certain things you would expect in a story like this, and most of those happen. But then there are other developments that I'm pleased to say my imagination is not demented enough to have conceived. (There is also an unfortunate tangent about Elsa's unhappy childhood, which adds nothing and is under-explored.) Through it all Natali maintains a gleeful tone, clearly enjoying the experience of telling a story that gets crazier and crazier as it goes. Even as events become more shocking, there's the sense that that's the point - that by defying the laws of nature from the very start, Clive and Elsa have put themselves outside the normal bounds of what's "taboo." In a world like that, no plot device is too grotesque. As viewers, we just have to embrace the insanity and enjoy the wild ride.
(Eric D. Snider, Land of Eric)
I went into the screening of the new horror movie Splice fully expecting to see one kind of movie and wound up seeing an entirely different one instead This is not an entirely unusual occurrence because plenty of movies open up with ad campaigns designed to make them look like things that are completely different from what they actually are - remember a couple of weeks ago when MacGruber was released with trailers and commercials that suggested that it was a comedy? The difference is that for the first time in a while, the difference was actually a positive thing. Based on the ads, I assumed that it was going to be little more than a cheesy knock-off of Species, the endearingly silly 1995 monster movie best remembered for displaying the pulchritude of Natasha Henstridge and the scenery-chewing abilities of Ben Kingsley and Alfred Molina.
(Peter Sobczynski,
Like a lot of David Cronenberg’s early work, Splice isn’t science fiction so much as science poetry. I’ll warn you up front that I couldn’t possibly care less about whatever technical snafus or plot illogic the movie may or may not have. It hit me hard and deep. It’s a work of sick beauty.
(Rob Gonsalves,
Splice is an independent film that has been cleverly disguised as a big-studio summer movie, so a fair portion of the audience may feel uneasy as they watch it. More uneasy, that is; writer-director Vincenzo Natali isn't just throwing the popcorn-movie rhythms off, but finding ways to creep out even a jaded audience.
(Jay Seaver,
The special effects and creature design, as good as they are, don’t exceed the acting by Polley, Brody and Chaneac, who make it all seem entirely plausible and emotionally real. Motivations are always in question, as Clive and Elsa take turns scolding each other each time a boundary is crossed, each trampled ethic and law making the reasons for the experiment seem more like excuses. Dren also has thoughts and feelings, which “complicated” only begins to describe.
(Peter Howell, Toronto Star)
Bathed in an eerie blue-gray light, imaginative, potent effects, and passionate performances, Spliced is an intelligent horror film that chips away at the emotions and the intellect without compromise and without respite.
(Andrea Chase, Killer Movie Reviews)
A cheeky, great-looking, thoughtfully loopy creature feature about the lure and dangers of cutting-edge gene splicing.
(Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly)
It's a refreshing change from run-of-the-kill horror. Nothing in Splice feels done merely for the moment - it's to creep you out later.
(Steve Persall, St. Petersburg Times)
The film takes itself frivolously when that's appropriate - some of it is charmingly silly - and seriously when, as is often the case, all sorts of good surprises are unleashed.
(Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal)
In its mix are ethical quandaries in biotechnology, nature versus nurture and an adorable-sexy-disturbing monster. So there's that. But it wins best in show by focusing on one of the weirder relationship triangles in recent memory.
(Michael Ordona, Los Angeles Times)
The movie is ridiculously over the top, inelegant and so defiantly crazy that it works, reminding you how fun gore and creatures that go bump (and grind) in the night can be. It's a sci-fi horror film, but no actual comedy has made me laugh as much this year as Splice.
(Mary Pols, Time)
Mr. Natali, whose earlier films include Cube, hasn’t reinvented the horror genre. But with Splice he has done the next best thing with an intelligent movie that, in between its small boos and an occasional hair-raising jolt, explores chewy issues like bioethics, abortion, corporate-sponsored science, commitment problems between lovers and even Freudian-worthy family dynamics.
(Manohla Dargis, New York Times)
Dark, sleek, funny and creepily infectious, the genetic-engineering horror-comedy Splice is a dynamic comeback vehicle for Canadian genre director Vincenzo Natali, who made a splash a few years ago with Cube.
(Andrew O'Hehir,
Heady, creaturely, and looking for trouble, Splice is also a sovereign creation: Conceived and midwived by Vincenzo Natali (Cube), it suggests the pure-bred Canadian love child of James Cameron and Margaret Atwood. I see David Cronenberg presiding over the baptism.
(Michelle Orange, Movieline)
The film's greatest accomplishment is its ability to change tone at least three times without losing the audience.
(Jeannette Catsoulis, NPR)
Played with black humor that never gets in the way of the horror, Natali’s film cleverly exploits Dren’s uncanny semi-humanity.
(Keith Phipps, The Onion)
Unsettling, intelligent, and way-out-there.
(Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer)
The sexual component to Splice pushes the story in provocatively eerie directions.
(Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune)
Smart, scary - and at times very funny - horror movie.
(Lou Lumenick, New York Post)
The flick is driven not by special effects or outrageously gory acts of violence, but by its characters. Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley reinvent the crazy scientists playing God, turning in performances that are charming one minute, petulant the next, and ultimately, compellingly hubristic.
(John DeVore, Premiere)
Despite acting under the computer-generated encumbrances of that monkey tail and those centaur legs, Delphine Chaneac does something remarkable with Dren – she makes her a disturbingly sexy thing.
(Rick Groen, Globe and Mail)
Played as a child by Abigail Chu and as an adult by Delphine Chaneac, Dren morphs into a special-effects miracle, sexy and scary in equal doses.
(Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)
Echoes of James Whale’s Frankenstein movies reverberate through this creepy Canadian sci-fi tale, whose innocent, confused beast is alternately terrifying and pathetic.
(J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader)
Splice is a queerly funny movie, attuned to the absurd.
(Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice)
Horror fans should still seek the film out for Dren - one of the most striking abominations to hit the big screen in a while.
(M. E. Russell, Portland Oregonian)
Dren, played as a young adult by Delphine Chaneac, represents every last scarifying aspect not covered in the book "What to Expect When You're Expecting." When Polley's character, who has a dark past indeed, first realizes what they've created, she's gratified for the chance to be a mother. Brody's character reacts to the dilemma somewhat differently, and one of the best scenes in an increasingly nerve-racking picture begins as an attempted murder but ends as something else. Polley and Brody serve the story well, conveying a world of moral and physical anxiety. Are audiences going to be up for this? The sexual component to Splice pushes the story in provocatively eerie directions. The film, much of which takes place in laboratories or at the couple's isolated farmhouse, doesn't deliver "the usual." I was fine with that — grateful, in fact. A little queasy in the stomach, but grateful.
(Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune)
It has funny “creature effects” and makeup, forthright storytelling and a robust, deadpan insistence on its own apparent seriousness, the only way for its comic qualities to come across. It may well become a cult favourite.
(Peter Bradshaw, Guardian)
Natali doesn’t quite make our flesh creep the way the cooler, more detached Cronenberg does, but he compels us to contemplate the moral issues he raises.
(Philip French, Observer)

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