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SPLICE (2009)

>> Friday, June 4, 2010

Splice is not the film I thought it would be, or could be…
I think the most interesting thing about Splice is just how great it sounded before going in – and I wasn’t listening to people’s opinions from work, or friends or nuttin’. I’m talking about the hardcore, movie critiquing professionals out there that litter the web these days. To put that into further perspective, Splice has a rating of 74% on Rotten Tomatoes. Now I must make clear, I NEVER read a review for a movie until I see it. It’s the number one thing to avoid as a film critic because believe it or not, your view can and most likely would be swayed in one way or another. Somehow though, word of mouth got around and the general vibe I was feeling said that Splice was refreshing. I think the people that gave this type of vibe to this movie were looking for something deeper in Splice than was actually there.

Perhaps it was actress Sarah Polley that gave a credible aura to Splice. Maybe it was Oscar winning actor Adrien Brody that made people say “These two wouldn’t be involved in this project if this movie didn’t mean something”. But realistically, I’m not going to know until I complete this review and finish putting my own thoughts out there.

Simply put, Splice is either the smartest horror movie ever made, or it’s the worst. The first half of the movie plays out like an original, thought-provoking thriller influenced by Pan’s Labyrinth - while the last half plays out like the director of Snakes on a Plane walked in and said “I make the best worst movies ever, and I know exactly what your movie’s missing!”.

I have no doubt upon writing this monstrosity (no pun intended – no, seriously) that writer and director Vincenzo Natali had his idea, was on the right track and then his drunk-ass buddy walked in and said “Dude, you know what would be sick? Have Adrien Brody and the monster do it! That would be awesome!” To which Natali replied “Well, that is psychological and plays into Freud. Since the rest of the movie plays with morals, why not take it further?” Too far dude, too – damn - far.

This however comes into play when I say Splice may actually be a brilliant movie. The people I went to the movie with left saying things along the lines of “I will never forget what I just saw in there.” or “I’ve never seen anything so disturbing in my life.” I can imagine people saying the same things after leaving the first screening for Salvador Dali’s Un Chien Andalou. But does the fact a piece of art (yes, movies are still art) can have that affect on someone mean it’s good art? That’s just something to think about.

Regardless of whether Natali was trying to accomplish anything more than shock is to be debated. Splice however will undoubtedly become a cult classic for a lot of horror lovers because its juts plain creepy. But for this self-proclaimed horror lover, I am giving it a closed door. It must be noted that although I have talked the now infamous sex scene to death, I am not giving it a closed door simply because of that scene. What bothered me about Splice was the fact that the tone of the film changed in the theatre the second that scene happened. I also want to point out there are bad movies out there like The Squeakquel that are bad simply because they are bad. This movie fails because it’s disappointing and turns a good movie with big promise bad for no apparent reason. Splice went from respect for a smaller movie with some revered actors in it to a non-stop LOL fest simply because it got kind of ridiculous. For me, that’s unforgivable.

*Stills courtesy of Gaumont


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