I’m back boys and girls. After a long hiatus and some soul searching I’ve returned with a new attitude and whole lot to say on our all-time ...

Splice: Species meets Frankenstein

I’m back boys and girls. After a long hiatus and some soul searching I’ve returned with a new attitude and whole lot to say on our all-time favorite subject--horror. Today it’s some observations on Splice, the upcoming genetically mutated thriller about a pair of scientists, Clive and Elsa, who clone a humanoid creature to further their research and get around bans on human cloning. Mistake with a capital “m” The resulting mayhem falls somewhere between Species and Frankenstein, as the ambitious tinkerers try to put the creature, named Dren, back in her box.
Firstly, I’m thrilled by the filmmaker’s dedication to practical effects. In an interview with FearNet.com, Vincenzo Natali justifies his brilliant decision to avoid an all CG creature: “As brilliant as Avatar is, for example, I still don't think you can replicate the subtly of that kind of performance with a fully digital character.” Natali’s commonsense take on CG already bodes well for this film, and it ensures that the audience will get more authentic responses from the actors reacting to the creature.

And speaking of creature, by all accounts at Sundance, actress Delphine Chaneac gives a convincingly tragic and powerful performance as the full grown Dren. Though she’s a hodgepodge of six different kinds of animal DNA, the human strand is enough for audiences to connect with this doomed critter on an emotional level--which brings me to the Species connection. Like Natasha Henstridge’s portrayal of the deadly alien vixen Sil, Dren also matures rapidly into an adult female creature struggling with the urge to mate. These simple growing pains prove to be a threat to the continuation of the human species. Only time will tell if Natali will grant his creature clemency, and if Dren can find a place in our world. Probably not.
One thing is sure, and that is Natali’s film will explore fears of female reproduction and sexuality. Actor Adrien Brody who plays scientist Clive (Collin anyone?) says as much: “This is the disaster everyone warns about. A new species set loose on the world.” The fear of female procreation as the downfall of humanity is represented in the “weirdly attractive” female creature and her perverse sexual urges.

Regardless of its echoes with films like Species or the old Frankenstein tale, Splice presents a new direction for horror’s currently struggling market, clogged with remakes and other fluff (I'm talking about you, Twilight: Eclipse). Splice is more than just a creature feature and according to Scott Weinburg “is less about the newborn creature "Dren" than it is about the slow and twisted depths that our heroes (?) are willing to plumb” and how far we as an audience are willing to go with them.

2 comments:

  1. I'm excited for this, mostly due to Natali (god I love Cube) and the fact that I simply trust Sarah Polley as an actor that picks intelligent and challenging projects. I just read the Fangoria writeup for this one and realized I need to see Cypher as well.

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  2. Definitely! Cube has always been one of my favorites and I think Natali brings his talented and nuanced film making to all his projects.

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