2009 // Canada // Vincenzo Natali // October 14, 2010 // Playstation Store
D+ - If you're making a film that is essentially an update to Frankenstein for the era of stem cell research, you could pick far worse influences than David Cronenberg. Director Vincenzo Natali is plainly positioning Splice as a successor to the Canadian auteur's chilly "body horror" films—especially his most familiar work, The Fly—with a surfeit of disturbing biological imagery and undisguised sexual colorings. Yet Natali lacks Cronenberg's audacious sensibility, his facility for establishing an uncanny mood, and his psychological and cultural inquisitiveness. Consequently, Splice proves to be little more than a faintly ludicrous, consistently predictable monster movie, without much of anything interesting to say. There's a nugget of a compelling premise deep within—biotech corporations genetically strip-mining lab-created organisms—and the design of hybrid creature Dren is admittedly striking. However, the whole enterprise is weighed down by a thuddingly stupid script and choked by genre clichés. Add to that a pair of protagonists whose actions seem completely arbitrary, as well as long stretches of dreary Stalking Monster "action" and you begin asking yourself two questions. Where is the Natali who directed the cerebral, fearsome Cube? And why the hell did I bother with this?