Halfway through my screening of Splice a woman in the audience vomited all over the floor.
This is not the first time I’ve encountered a patron upchucking in a movie theater. Before a showing of the movie The Brave One, a young boy heaved into a garbage can. Incidentally, the plumbing in the entire multi-level movie theater was also on the fritz; picture that mise-en-scene. I still don’t understand why his mother brought him to that movie, and why they remained when the kid was clearly sick as a dog, but I suppose the high cost of movie tickets necessitated that decision, or perhaps she just really loved Jodie Foster.
I digress. Splice, while gory and disgusting, should not make the average viewer puke. It’s less of a horror film than the previews would lead one to believe – the horrors here are mostly ethical, unsettling and bizarre. This is science fiction minus the science. The filmmakers don’t try to provide any explanation about how it’s done or why things turn out the way they do. The pivotal splicing scene is set to the tune of late-90s techno music and a computer screen that simply reads “Human/Animal Splice: Successful.”
Splice is a B-movie with an A-list cast. Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody are interesting casting choices and they have fun with it, though I would hesitate to call them convincing scientific geniuses. Laughs abound at serious moments, though the laughter is less mocking and more pure disbelief. But that’s what makes it so downright entertaining. The director/writer, Vincenzo Natali, did not shy away from throwing absolute batshit craziness into this film, including a very special love scene, the likes of which I’m willing to bet have never been seen before.
The human/animal fetus’s appearance is an homage to the baby from Eraserhead (or blatant rip-off?). The bizarre fleshy organisms these two god-playing scientists have created at the onset of the film bring to mind the video game bio-pods that plug into spines from Cronenberg’s eXistenZ, another Polley film. Splice follows similar tracks thematically, exploring bioethics, rogue science, mommy issues and corporate greed. The questions the film raises are relevant, though the answers are over the top. Have fun.
Emily is our favorite lady in Duluth, and possibly the entire midwest.