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

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By the time the film's climactic 15 minutes rolled around, viewers at a preview were laughing as if they were watching Knocked Up. For a horror picture, such a reaction is the equivalent of a stake through the heart.
(Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald)
For all its surface seriousness, Splice is a regulation monster movie. So however somber it gets, it's never truly thought-provoking, and however outrageous it gets, it's still always 20 minutes behind the audience. It's just too dumb to be serious and too slow to be entertaining.
(Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle)
Despite Brody and Polley's reasonable efforts, they can't compensate for a script that undermines its curiosity about humanity.
(Amy Nicholson, Boxoffice Magazine)
Morphing as often as the character central to its story, Splice is an unruly mix of science, morality, family dysfunction, horror and finger-down-the-throat gross-out ridiculousness. It's all too much, in other words. With fewer of those elements, the movie might have been gory good fun. Alas, no such luck... There's an intriguing horror film in the mix somewhere. There's probably two or three intriguing movies in there. Trying too many things and succeeding at too few, Splice isn't one of them.
(Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic)
The yuck factor spins off the charts in Splice, a thoroughly repulsive science fiction-horror flick that slicks up its B-movie tawdriness with high-gloss production values and two otherwise classy stars... Horror movies have always been defensible for offering either catharsis or camp value. Splice boasts neither, even though a scene of a bunch of stockholders getting splattered with mutant guts could have qualified as a kitsch classic. Instead, Splice joins Warner Bros.' similar offering from this time last year, Orphan, as a singularly cynical enterprise, exploiting our anxieties about reproduction, parenthood, control and betrayal while engaging in the crudest forms of sensationalism. (The movie contains not one, but two scenes of interspecies sex, each with its own incestuous overtones.) It's difficult to know who the filmmakers hold in more contempt in this goopy, gory, grotesque exercise: the characters or the audience. Either way you slice or dice it, you get the same result: Yuck.
(Ann Hornaday, Washington Post)
For all the jolts, gore and horror, a scary movie is all about mood. If the tone is off even a notch, an audience will laugh, instead of scream, or roll their eyes, rather than shut them. Splice is an unholy mess because it fuses together the worst parts of every bad medical-monster thriller, and then boldly cranks up the ridiculous... What audiences will likely do during most of director Vincenzo Natali's movie is snicker. Since this Toronto-filmed tale has no specified setting, it essentially exists in early Cronenbergville. It wants to tour the scarred human psyche, yet the cobbled-together screenplay is silly when it should be spooky, cold when it should boil over and dumb when it should be smart.Polley plays Elsa as emotionally immature, though the reasons for that are barely touched. Meanwhile, Brody goes for the petulant approach, with his Jack White hair only accentuating his Cubist facial features. As performers, they're capable of more, except Natali wanted to do a kind of Canadian-grown Species. And in a flick about a man-made monster, there needs to be at least a few big "Wow, that's intense!" scenes. What we get are too many instances of "Whoa, that's stupid!"
(Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News)
Splice is one-half of an interesting sci-fi feature and one-half of an outlandish winged-creature sex romp. Perhaps the title of the film is more literal than I took it to be, because Splice is cut straight down the middle to the point the first half takes itself way too seriously considering where the second half dares go. Had this been conceived as a tongue-in-cheek B-movie from the outset I could have held on for the duration, but I can only make so many exceptions for one film... Morality plays a major role in the first half of the film, and even got someone like me who is in favor of embryonic stem cell research to second guess myself, but it quickly loses its relevance as Natali's screenplay, co-written with Antoinette Terry Bryant and Doug Taylor, abandons all intelligence in favor of downright stupidity. The moral issue was already in play and Splice just continues to pile on before overstaying its welcome and devolving into the absurd... Early reviews called it "creepy" and "mortifyingly fascinating". None of this is the case. This is a Frankenstein meets the beauty queen version of Jeepers Creepers and it's simply two styles of storytelling that don't belong together. Don't get me wrong, there is an interesting moral dilemma at the heart of this film and it's the plotline you want to explore, but when Natali turns it into something else it's almost as if someone changed the channel and you find yourself watching a complete different movie with the same characters, but instead of being genius level scientists they are grade-A morons.
(Brad Brevet, Rope of Silicon)
I hated Splice, and not in the sense that I wasn't ready to go to the "challenging" places it ventures into (as I bet some people will suggest), but that it's one of those sink-in-your-seat, please-end-faster-so-I-can-escape, good-Lord-could-it-get-any-worse kind of bad that only rears its head once in a blue moon, featuring two exceptionally boring main characters trapped in an agonizingly obvious screenplay that could only emphasize its subtext further if Warner Bros. filled half of every auditorium with people that would yell "Get it?" to the regular viewer sitting next to them at every moment. The principal players should be embarrassed to have this movie on their resumes, offering only shrugs and emotionless smirks whenever anyone asks them what the hell they might have been thinking... If there's something I can't stand, it's supposedly smart characters making ridiculously stupid decisions based on things like impulse and primal instinct, and Splice lays on this cliche thicker than maple syrup, careful to smother any trace of fun that might have been gleaned from Brody or Polley's performances right out of the movie with endless bickering and stupidity.
(Tyler Foster, DVD Talk)
What makes even less sense than the plot is why an actor of Adrien Brody’s caliber (he won an Oscar, for Pete’s sake!) would read this script and say, “Yes. I think I should be in this film.” The only thing I can figure is he lost a bet and this was his punishment. As for Polley, she appears to be trying to conjure the chops of her fellow redhead, Julianne Moore. It doesn’t work. But neither does anything else.
(Meredith J. Cooper, Sacramento News Review)
Natali squanders much of his early promise along the way, copping out with a nervous slapsticky tone that makes unclear how much we’re meant to invest in anything: once he’s just splattering the front rows of a demonstration audience with mutant-bug blood, it’s become a gruesome joke, and no more.
(Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph)

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