By Jeffrey Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Intense, twisted monster movie explores DNA experimentation.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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 & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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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."
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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.
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Not For Feint Of Heart
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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?
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.
Talk to Your Kids 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?
- In theaters: June 4, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: 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
- Last updated: March 31, 2022
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