Vincenzo Natali’s “Splice” was one of my favorites of 2010. It’s a surefire Frankenstein tale about two scientists on the precipice of creating not only a brand new species but a brand new gender. When they venture in to the depths of their scientific realm and work outside the confines of their regulated laboratory, they soon discover that they’ve created the ultimate being. Named Dren, she is a pure unadulterated force of nature, both of the emotional and the sexual. What begins as a science experiment gone awry soon turns in to a clear cut case of God Complex coming in to fruition as characters Clive and Elsa (ignore that clunky reference, and you’ll be fine) attempt to create a life, still stifled by their ability to do so in a relationship filled with ambition and mutual respect, but little to no intimacy.
Dren is the result of both individuals fears and insecurities and what starts as two power hungry people evolves yet again in to a parable about parenting. “Splice” much like its signature monster is an ever evolving and amorphous narrative that tackles themes with every moment that passes, and uses Dren as a form of exemplifying what these two people want and aspire for her. When Clive soon forms a bond with Dren, he realizes that her sexual allure is almost impossible to resist, especially when Dren blossoms in to puberty allowing her a Gothic Lovecraftian transformation where she’s part wasp, part mammal, all with a brutally lethal stinger around the corner ready to pounce on her rivals. Director Natali opts for dark humor on many occasions staging scenes that will be tough for some viewers to endure.
There’s a moment where Clive teaches Dren to dance, and of course the moment that is both awkward and oddly enticing where Clive and Dren give in to sexual urges. This is where Elsa becomes Mommy Dearest and begins striking down systematically at Dren’s base urges and instincts when she feels threatened. And this becomes a battle not solely for a man’s passion, but primarily for survival of the species as Else recognizes Dren’s ability to be superior to modern woman, and finds that she must either denigrate Dren as much as humanly possible to the point of physical and mental abuse, or risk being replaced. “Splice” culminates in to one big traditional monster movie where Dren soon revolts, and the battle for this new species and its survival becomes imperative to Dren whose ultimate transformation is stunning and leads in to one hell of a twist ending.
It remains one of my absolute favorites of 2010, even after re-watching it months subsequent my initial viewing. The DVD comes with absolutely no features, but the Blu-Ray comes with “A Director’s Playground,” about the creation of “Splice” and the development of Dren. There is of course the Digital Copy for folks with an Ipad or Ipod. The combo pack leaves much to be desired, but “Splice” is still a marvelous bit of intelligent science fiction fare. With top notch performances and heavy commentary on the dangers of parenting and the God Complex that comes with science and hunger for creation. Director Vincenzo Natali’s wicked creation is a near masterpiece, and one of my favorite genre entries of 2010.