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

MIXED Reviews

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It's no classic, and I don't want to oversell it. You'll recognize extensive borrowings from such pop landmarks as Jurassic Park and Rosemary's Baby, and the looming presence of the Frankenstein/Prometheus myth. But you'll have a lovely, scary time along the way... Splice was directed, deftly, by Vincenzo Natali from an extremely smart screenplay that he wrote with Antoinette Terry Bryant and Doug Taylor. 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. "What's the worst that could happen?" Elsa asks toward the end. You don't, but really do, want to know.
(Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal)
Warner Brothers, which picked up Vincenzo Natali’s independent picture for distribution, is marketing it as a standard-issue horror movie, and the result is likely to disappoint a lot of people. The mass audience, which will find the piece too peculiar for its taste. And the studio honchos, who probably won’t be satisfied with the modest grosses, at least after the first weekend. But the person who will suffer most will be Natali, who’s made an odd, creepy little shocker that could have built a cult following had it been carefully nurtured to find its true audience rather than dumped on a thousand screens. It’s perhaps the worst decision of this sort since the now-defunct Newmarket blundered by going wide with Donnie Darko in 2002 with the suggestion that it was a run-of-the-mill teen slasher flick... Natali has made a film that’s part monster movie and part domestic drama. While the mixture doesn’t entirely gel, and the result sometimes seems like a superior episode from the new Outer Limits series, it’s a cinematic hybrid sufficiently intriguing to merit a visit.
(Frank Swietek, One Guy’s Opinion)
Writer/director Vincenzo Natali takes his tale in some truly icky directions, not quite making it into Cronenbergland but going far enough to elicit solid 'ewww' laughs from the crowd.
(John Defore, Hollywood Reporter)
The movie begins to run out of gas as it racks up a body count, but even the mad-scientist and I-created-a-monster cliches are contorted satisfyingly enough.
(Wesley Morris, Boston Globe)
The script blends human psychology with scientific speculation and has genuine interest until it goes on autopilot with one of the chase scenes Hollywood now permits few films to end without... I wish Dren’s persona had been more fully developed. What does she think? What does she feel? There has never been another life form like her. The movie stays resolutely outside, viewing her as a distant creature. Her “parents” relate mostly to her memetic behavior. Does it reflect her true nature? How does she feel about being locked in the barn? Does she “misbehave,” or is that her nature? The film, alas, stays resolutely concerned with human problems... Disappointing then, that the movie introduces such an extraordinary living being and focuses mostly on those around her. All the same, it’s well done, and intriguing.
(Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)
Vincenzo Natali's outlandish sci-fier sustains a grotesque and funny fascination throughout its slightly protracted runtime.
(Justin Chang, Variety)
Splice is as much a psychological thriller and drama about bio-ethics as it is a horror movie. Like the vastly superior The Fly, it uses gore sparingly; delivering shocks to the audience is a secondary consideration.
(James Berardinelli, Reelviews)
Moves along well until the characters and situations become too ridiculous to be believed.
(Kevin C. Johnson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
If you’ve seen Species, you know where this don’t-mess-with-Mother-Nature horror show is going, though director-cowriter Vincenzo Natali has a few interesting twists up his sleeve.
(Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York)
It begins with such promise, a kinky modernist twist on a classical sci-fi morality tale. That it degenerates into conventional, genre horror is all the more disappointing.
(Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel)
Mapping out Splice's DNA isn't too difficult. Aside from Species, its near-anagram antecedent, there's a touch of David Lynch in Dren's bawling-Eraserhead-baby phase, while the ambiguous glass-box corporate parks and squishy horror are very early Cronenberg... The detailed imagining of Dren's life cycle and Splice's one-upping make the movie mortifyingly fascinating, and its spell lasts right up until the junk heap of a grand finale—did the projectionist platter a reel of Jeepers Creepers 3?—topped by a capstone that will please only those people who are gratified when they can guess a twist ending well ahead of time.
(Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice)
Though a stylish thriller with an initially palpable sense of menace and kinky tension, the story takes such ridiculous turns that it ends up undercutting its initial promise. What began as something fresh degenerates into the same slithery, goopy, bloody horror flick we've seen before. Too bad, because there's undoubtedly an innovative angle to be taken on genetic engineering... There are plenty of unintentional laughs as the film's tone morphs as much as the monster at its center. But then switching gears from bio-thriller to steamy sex drama to gruesome horror flick is bound to produce some blowback, as well as an implied sequel.
(Claudia Puig, USA Today)

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