Splice of American Gothic

Looking at the poster above, you would think the new sci-fi horror flick Splice was some kind of cloning-era mish-mash of Alien and Species.  Based up the trailers, you would think that too.  On the surface all would point to this.  Well, golly, who knew you would be so wrong?

The film opens with a terminally hip power couple turned scientists-du-jour (Oscar winner Adrien Brody and indie film darling Sarah Polley) working for a pharmaceutical company (headed by a cold and demanding French woman played by Simona Maicanescu) splicing away to create a new species that can be used for the harvesting of therapeutic and disease curing genes.  Upon threat of being shut down and not allowed to continue their experiments, Polley’s character has the awful idea to splice in some human DNA on the sly — just to see if they could’ve done it, you know, that old song and dance.  The result — you guessed it — is a fast growing super-freaky French mutant (Delphine Chaneac) with wings and a long-tailed stinger who likes to play Scrabble.

But lurking underneath the guise of this well-worn Frankenstein-style think piece is a depraved little piece of American Gothic hullabaloo complete with hysterical women and family secrets.  Here we have character development and back story the likes of which this genre is not accustomed to, and while at first refreshing, it quickly slips into super dark territory.  Color me surprised…and talk about a botched and misleading marketing campaign.  To delve into the truly bizarre nature of Splice would be to give away too much, but if you were like me and feared they had given too much away in the trailers, they didn’t.  You should be fearful for a whole myriad of other reasons when delving into Vincenzo Natali’s undeniably disturbing, somewhat ridiculous and well acted fright fest.

Don’t go in expecting a tightly wound story attacking the ethical and moral dilemmas of genetic engineering.  These questions are raised, but only within the far-fetched premise of the film’s set-up.  Fiendishly that set-up leads to moral and ethical questions surrounding parenthood – in any day and age, in any form or species.  You see, as we learn the truth behind Sarah Polley’s character’s past and motivations, we end up with a story about child abuse within a dysfunctional family.  It just so happens this family is made up of mad scientists, and their misbegotten child is a genetically engineered monster.  Yup, Splice is that old story. 

Why some people do what they do…we may never know.  And why one of the greatest forms of entertainment will always be lurking to see what people do behind closed doors…well…as the evil French pharmaceutical company lady in this film might say, c’est la vie

Like a bastardized female-centric Eraserhead by way of Jerry Springer, Splice is a slick, sick piece of subversive trash.

Written by David H. Schleicher

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13 comments on “Splice of American Gothic

  1. DeeDee says:

    Bonjour! D.H.Sch-lei-cher!

    After reading your “semi”-scathing” review of the film Splice I guess that I should keep the link to the Splice Yourself Generator to myself…
    Splice Yourself

    (Which of course, I didn’t visit for long…I stay just long enough to find out what he film Splice was all about…)

    …But on the other hand, if your readers want to play around with the Toy Story 3 Generator…I suggest that they go here…
    Toy Story 3
    Generator

    By the way, I made a cute little French-inspired doll from the Toy Story 3 Generator…I would truly hate to see the outcome if you combined the Splice Generator with the Toy Story 3 Generator?!?…Yikes!
    Merci, for sharing!
    DeeDee ;-D

    DeeDee – LMAO, both links are a riot. Thanks for sharing! Oh, what hell hath the internet wrought? –DHS

  2. DeeDee says:

    Correction:(Which of course, I didn’t visit for long…I stayed just long enough to find out what the film Splice was all about…and then I quickly left the website as the DNA “structure” (or double helix animation or icon started to turn.)

  3. dianneglave says:

    love your review. very american gothic. as you read in my rewiew i was fascinated by elsa. i was thinking about a gothic betty davis movie in which older sisters were at odds. another story of a parent turning children into a psycho mess. i’m wrkng on a reflection on iron man 2. watch for it at dianneglaverootedintheearth.com. pleasure sharing with you.

    Thanks for stopping by, I’ll be sure to keep an eye on your blog — seems we share some interests. –DHS

  4. John Greco says:

    “Like a bastardized female-centric Eraserhead by way of Jerry Springer, Splice is a slick, sick piece of subversive trash.”

    It is this last line in your review that has convinced me to go see this tomorrow. I have been debating whether to see Splice or Get Me To The Greek.

    John, ha ha ha, enjoy! –DHS

  5. Longman Oz says:

    Always feel a touch queasy when I see this hybrid creation!

    So the next generation of women will be able to sting with their tails as well as their tongues? That’s all we men need…

    Longman, ah, a scary thought indeed! –DHS

  6. DeeDee says:

    David!!!!

    Uh oh, I’m getting yelled at. –DHS

  7. DeeDee says:

    Bonjour! D.H.Sch-lei-cher,
    All kidding aside…with me calling you, by your first name…
    …I’am really not trying to be controversial (Definition of:Provoking strong disagreement or disapproval, e.g. in public a debate )here on your blog, but “some men” have “serpent tongue(s)” and “sharp tails” too…

    For instance, my father (père) if and when he gets angry…move out the way! (10-20 words per second(s) all in… French!…believe me you are in for a “tongue lashing.”)

    But, my mother(mère)on the hand, she is quiet as a church mouse! she have alway been a quiet, non-argumentive, person. (In other words, I have seen both sides of the coin, but I guess in this society and in this world…there will alway be a he said, she said, men are this way and women act that particular way debate.)

    Hmmm…now to digress just a little, but if I were a Splice…I would have to say that I’am 90% like my mother(mère) and 10% like my father(père) only if “provoked.(Then and only then my “fiery temper”(Think Colette Tatou) is “revealed”…other than that not a “peek” out of me!)

    D.H.Schleicher, I’am so sorry, but I had to response…in order to let the female “voice” opinion be heard…too!
    Merci,
    DeeDee ;-D

    Hey now, DeeDee, Longman Oz said it…not me 🙂 –DHS

  8. DeeDee says:

    D.H.Schleicher said, “The film opens with a terminally hip power couple turned scientists-du-jour (Oscar winner Adrien Brody and indie film darling Sarah Polley) working for a pharmaceutical company (headed by a cold and demanding French woman played by Simona Maicanescu) splicing away to create a new species that can be used for the harvesting of therapeutic and disease curing genes. Upon threat of being shut down and not allowed to continue their experiments, Polley’s character has the awful idea to splice in some human DNA on the sly — just to see if they could’ve done it, you know, that old song and dance…”

    Oh! Let me be perfectly clear when it comes to me using the Splice or Splicing comparison or term…I just mean inheriting one or two of my parent’s traits or aspects of their personalities…I understand the different and how the term was used in the film Splice.

  9. Sam Juliano says:

    I wasn’t able to negotiate this over the weekend, as I had a full schedule already spoken for, but surely I’ll get to it this week, especiaslly with this…Ah Hum……glowing review!

    Sam, you know what’s funny…I see this movie has tanked at the box office (despite mostly positive reviews from critics) — but I’ve noticed anybody who loves movies or spends a lot of time writing about movies, has seen it (or plans to see it shortly) and has a lot to say about it. It’s a fun movie to talk about, whether you end up liking it or not. –DHS

    • Sam Juliano says:

      Aye David, excellent point. I’ve seen the same myself on all the boards. I will be seeing a 9:00 P.M. showing tonight at a local multiplex with blogger Dennis Polifroni and my son Danny, so I shall be back! Ha!

  10. DeeDee says:

    Definition of Exclamation:a word, phrase, or sentence that is shouted out suddenly, often through surprise, anger, or excitement.

    D.H.Schleicher said,“Uh oh, I’m getting yelled at.

    Ha!Ha! (Laughter!)
    D.H.Sch-lei-cher,
    Oh! no, I would never “yell” at you, (or anyone else for that matter…)
    …D.H., The exclamation point(s) indicated
    “surprise.”
    By the way, I don’t like to “yell” or “shout” at people either in public (While online, or when I’am outside, etc,etc,etc…) or at home…in private.)

    Take care!
    DeeDee 🙂 😉

  11. dianneglave says:

    Have you seen Iron Man 2? What did you think? My take: dianneglave.com

    Dianne, I did see it (and I commented on your very interesting review over at your blog). I thought it was okay. I generally don’t get excited by those types of films. –DHS

  12. Aiden R says:

    Liked it up until THE sex scene. Couldn’t recover from that.

    Aiden, ’twas quite disturbing. A really “effed-up” flick to say the least. –DHS

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