“What’s the worst that could happen?” Has that line ever been spoken in a movie, any movie, when the worst does NOT then go on to, in fact, happen? No one has ever tempted fate by asking that and then had their plans go on without a hitch, and the characters in Splice are no exception. “What’s the worst that could happen?” is the mission statement of the movie, and if they haven’t used it as the tagline to go on the poster, they should have.
Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley play two rock and roll scientists/lovers who are closing in on a genetic splice that will provide cures for Alzheimers, Parkinsons, etc. Did they not see Deep Blue Sea, in which scientists also played God in a search for cures for those very diseases? If you don’t remember the results there, here is a reminder.
Anyway, with their middle fingers raised high to ethical scientific research, Brody and Polley throw some human DNA into the mix and out comes Dren, their unholy surrogate baby. At this point, the movie not-too-subtly turns into a condensed version of new parenthood, as the two scientists attempt to care for their new… well, whatever it is.
I liked the parenthood metaphor that runs through this movie; it is so overt, though, that I don’t know if it qualifies as a metaphor. Splice could easily run on a double-bill with Three Men and a Baby, although fans of that movie (moms everywhere) would probably have some problems with Splice as it goes on.
Because, sure enough, the worst does happen. I don’t want to spoil the surprises the movie holds, but I will say that in a contest between which scientist (Brody or Polley) turns out be more unethical, Brody wins in a landslide. Yes, there is a scene in this that “kicks it up a notch,” as Emeril would say, and I think that it will be the dividing line between those who love the movie and those who hate it. The scene does provide Polley with one of the funniest reaction shots in recent memory, though.
Did I mention that this movie is pretty funny, albeit in a really creepy way? There is another scene in which some of their spliced creations (named Fred and Ginger) are being displayed on stage for an audience of fellow scientists and stockholders. The presentation goes hilariously wrong, in a scene reminiscent of the first ED-209 demonstration in Robocop.
It should be said that this is a horror movie in the strictest definition. It does not have a high body count, and it isn’t about a monster on the loose who is slaughtering the townsfolk. Instead, it is of the more creepy, squirm-inducing variety, and I had no problem with that. Have you ever seen The Fly (the one with Goldblum)? The vibe here is very similar, and if you liked that, you will probably like this.