Review in a Hurry: Two wunderkind geneticists create a new lifeform that's part human, part creepoid. It quickly evolves into something very cool, and so does this creature feature, with a great cast and only a few bumps in the final reel.
The Bigger Picture: Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) specialize in splicing DNA from different animals to create strange hybrids, but they've never thrown human DNA into the mix. All that changes when a curious test tube labeled "Jane Doe" arrives. Eager to see the outcome, the duo starts splicing. As subject H-50 starts evolving into something human-like, Elsa is elated with feelings of joy, triumph and...motherhood?
Executive produced by Hellboy mastermind Guillermo Del Toro, Splice is a wickedly modern concoction, and a cautionary tale about the creation of a new species. The story packs quite a wallop, even if you might think you've seen this before.
And you really haven't.
Just what the creature known as subject H-50—eventually named Dren ("nerd" backwards, see what they did there?)—will evolve into makes for surprisingly fertile storytelling. And the special effects do not disappoint.
Early on, Clive wants to kill Dren. But as she grows and starts to look like some hot alien supermodel (played by French actress Delphine Chanêac) he learns to more than just tolerate her. Suffice it to say, Elsa is not pleased.
Director Vincenzo Natali (Cube) keeps things moving and never overindulges in gore, but the film does earn its R-rating because of some sex scenes, only some of it human-on-human. (Yes, they went there.)
Brody and Polley are excellent. Their performances highlight the ever-shifting balance of power in the new "new" nuclear family, and props to Chanêac for keeping Dren compelling with no real dialogue.
For those who like their science fiction smart and, uh, sexy, this is not to be missed.
The 180—a Second Opinion: The ending leaves much to be desired. It's not exactly a cheat, but a letdown. Still, everything else about Splice works so well, we'll forgive those last few moments.