Splice

 
Intense, twisted monster movie explores DNA experimentation.
  • Review Date: May 27, 2010
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 104 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The movie's main message goes all the way back to Frankenstein and other creature features: Don't mess with Mother Nature. The movie struggles with a plethora of moral and ethical issues, and the characters seem to know that they have stepped wrong, but have no idea how to correct it until it's too late. Likewise, the characters keep secrets and seem to grow apart, working against one another.

Positive role models

Clive and Elsa are scientists, and they're really smart, but not great role models. They're arrogant and a bit reckless, and their attempts to create an unnatural, man-made life form result in untold mayhem, as well as many troubling moral and ethical issues. Likewise, there comes a point at which Clive and Elsa can no longer trust anyone around them, and they begin to distrust one another as well.

Violence

Intense moments of terror and shocking behavior, without much blood or gore. We see disturbing imagery in a laboratory, with odd creatures forming and moving around. A creature breaks free and hides in the lab, threatening to jump out and attack. Characters try to decide whether or not to kill the creature, and one character makes an attempt. A creature eats a raw, bloody rabbit that she has killed. Additionally, characters argue quite often, and the creatures sometimes make disturbing screeching noises.

Sex

The main characters, Clive and Elsa, flirt and kiss. They have sex without much nudity and discuss the idea of having a baby together. (The film doesn't mention it, but they do not appear to be married.) The movie grows far more twisted when Clive begins to develop feelings for the adult Dren, who is like their surrogate child. He eventually has sex with her (bringing up all kinds of weird moral and Freudian ideas). In one scene, we see adult Dren naked, though she's really only partly human. Finally there is a quasi-rape scene as a male creature attacks Elsa.

Language

We hear "f--k" and variations on the word at least eight times, and "s--t" a few times. Additionally, there is "damn," "God" (as an exclamation), "Goddammit," "Jesus," and "retard."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Splice is a monster movie that's not particularly bloody or gory but has many intense, shocking situations that have the potential to deeply disturb sensitive viewers. On top of this, the movie also involves some thorny sexual situations (between human and quasi-human) and lots of foul language, including multiple uses of "f--k" and "s--t." The movie raises several complex ethical and moral questions around the creation of life and the meaning of family that has the potential to intrigue and/or offend. Either way, it's a real conversation-starter.

What's the story?

On the verge of losing control of their laboratory under a tangle of red tape, two rebellious scientists, the romantically-involved Elsa (Sarah Polley) and Clive (Adrien Brody) impulsively decide to experiment with crossing animal and human DNA. The result of their experiment matures frighteningly fast, eventually appearing as the weirdly pretty adult female creature known as "Dren" (Delphine Chanéac). Unfortunately, since Elsa and Clive have crossed many legal and ethical lines, they must keep Dren a secret. But their emotional involvement with the creature -- and with each other -- may prevent them from understanding what Dren really is: a potentially deadly monster.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This movie is messed up! Directed and co-written by Vincenzo Natali, Splice moves through familiar territory, giving nods to Frankenstein, E.T., and Jurassic Park, but it touches on some seriously complex and twisted ideas, such as the meaning of family and the concept of creation. Nevertheless, it has a perfectly confident and nonchalant tone as it navigates these sticky issues; it's even ever so slightly comical. (Or perhaps the laughter is just a reaction to the movie's uncomfortable suggestions.)

The director balances everything pitch-perfectly, from the performances to the hair-raising sound effects, and all the way down to images of the creepy, snowy woods during the film's tense climax. It's a thoroughly satisfying movie for viewers looking for something with a bit more depth and wit than the average summer blockbuster. After the thrills have ended, brave viewers will find plenty of interesting themes and ideas to discuss, though more sensitive -- and younger -- viewers should approach with caution.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the way this movie dealt with the implications of creating a new life. What issues does it bring up? How is this movie different from or similar to other "creature features" like Frankenstein, etc.?

  • How does this movie compare to horror films filled with blood and gore? Was it more or less scary? How did the movie's violence make you feel? Was it disturbing? Were you frightened, or did it make you uncomfortable?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 4, 2010
DVD release date:October 5, 2010
Cast:Adrien Brody, Delphine Chanéac, Sarah Polley
Director:Vincenzo Natali
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Science Fiction
Run time:104 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:disturbing elements including strong sexuality, nudity, sci-fi violence and language

This review of Splice was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 16 years old Written bySynchronicity June 4, 2010
age 15+
 

Not as scary as advertised, and some wasted potential, but good overall

Two major geneticists cross human and animal DNA on the verge of their latest discovery in Splice. Directed by Vincenzo Natali (who also directed the excellent horror film Cube), this film wasn't as scary as it could have been. It's quite good as a sci-fi film, and filming techniques are cool and unusual. The life cycle of Dren (the mutant) is shown pretty much in full throughout the movie. However, the production values possibly went into the special effects and little else. And to think that the premise, if done right, could make a good and scary horror movie with moral quandaries. But in Splice, morals come before horror. Although it's a bit of a shock (since I was anticipating this film as a horror flick), I liked this different style of horror filmmaking. If you're into morality tales, Splice would be right up your ally. However, it's not a kiddie flick. Contrary to what Common Sense said, there are several really bloody scenes (spoilers abound): two giant cells, which we assume will "copulate", end up fighting against each other, with lots of blood, and the dome they're in eventually breaks, spilling blood all over the audience below. There's also a disturbing surgery scene, a creature eating a dead rabbit, and miscellaneous gory scenes. There are four sex scenes: one, in the first few minutes of the film, occurs offscreen between the main characters. Another (about halfway in) has the main characters straddling each other (clothed, but there are a few thrusts). The third scene is between the creature and one of the main characters, and is probably the most unconventional sex scene ever put to film. (I won't discuss it further.) The fourth is between the creature and the other main character, and is implied. There's some female creature nudity that, while detailed, isn't as bad as most R-rated films (mainly because it's of a humanoid creature rather than a human). Finally, there's some profanity (about 11 f-bombs, which also isn't as bad as most R-rated films). Overall, Splice is not as good as it could have been, but it's good enough to recommend.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Kid, 12 years old June 4, 2010
age 17+
 

THE GREATEST MONSTER MOVIE OF THE 21ST CENTURY

SPLICE IS ONE OF THE GREATEST MONSTER MOVIES EVER MADE. IT IS AN AMZING MORALITY/MONSTER MOVIES AROUND. ALSO THIS FILM HAS A GENUINE WTF MOMENT EVERY MINUTE FROM THE SEX CHANGES TO THE BLOB'S TO THE RAPE TO THE WINGS THE SHOCKINGLY BRILLIANT FILM UNLIKE ANYTHING EVER MADE. TRUST ME SPLICE IS ONE OF THE YEAR'S BEST FILMS. BEWARE THIS FILM IS NOT FOR KIDS DUE MOSTLY TO THE EXTREME MUTILATION OF DRE AND THE CRINGE WORTHY SEX SCENE BETWEEN CLIVE AND DREN. SPLICE IS WORTH SEEING ONLY IF YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN SPLICE IS A MASTERPIECE UNLIKE ANY MONSTER MOVIE EVER MADE GRADE A
What other families should know
Too much sex
Kid, 9 years old June 5, 2010
age 2+
 

4 stars

4 star movie because a cat dies overall good movie.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models

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