Newstead Pharmaceuticals is researching medicinal proteins for livestock. Two of the dedicated scientific team, Clive Nicoli (ADRIEN BRODY) and Elsa kast (SARAH POLLEY) in the company splicing labs have genetically created a couple of new maggot-like life forms who they name Fred and Ginger. It is their hope that these hybrid creatures can also help genetically influenced diseases in Humans.
Yet when their boss William Harlow (DAVID HEWLETT) takes them to a meeting with the no-nonsense company Director Joan Chorot (SIMONA MAICANESCU), she promptly informs them in no uncertain terms that the company needs to begin the production stage of the medicines immediately.
Horrified, Clive and Elsa claim they need more time for development, only to be told the splicing labs are to be shut down.
Undeterred, the duo continue their work in secret, later with the reluctant participation of Clives younger brother Gavin (BRANDON MCGIBBON), and after successfully fertilizing an embryo with Human DNA soon create a new specimen even more groundbreaking than Fred and Ginger.
The creature which emerges, a female, is christened Dren by the overawed scientists and they whisk her away to an isolated farm which once belonged to the Kast family. Here they hope to study Dren as she evolves and becomes more Humanlike and feminine.
Maturing at an accelerated speed, a now adult Dren (DELPHINE CHANEAC) discovers new things about herself, including amphibious lungs for underwater breathing and retractable wings for flight, yet the confines of the farm bring out detrimental flaws in her character which will inevitably only lead to disaster for all concerned!
SPLICE is, in essence, a retelling of the classic FRANKENSTEIN story, which is certainly no bad thing. It has series comments to say about Humans trying to push back boundaries by meddling with aspects they do not fully understand, let alone control, and how even the best of intentions can lead to catastrophic results. While viewers will want Clive and Elsa to succeed with their plans, much sympathy will be reserved for Dren who, through no fault of her own, is an outcast which Human prejudices and instabilities will inevitably shun.
There is much to enjoy about SPLICE even if the story is largely familiar. CHANEAC gives a great performance and conveys her full range of moods with movements and facial gestures (as Dren cannot speak), although ABIGAIL CHU, as the younger version of the unfortunate creature, is equally as good in her brief role too. Somewhat bizarrely, Dren reminded me of a mixture of other film characters, in particular the females in THX 1138 and the Demonic antagonist from JEEPERS CREEPERS, is such a hybrid is possible!
The special effects are also of a very high standard and I would have perhaps liked to have seen an entire documentary dedicated to them in the Special Features. Here we have a segmented interview with the Director VINCENZO NATALI (25 minutes), plus two documentaries featuring cast interviews and rare behind the scenes footage (running to 32 minutes and 33 minutes respectively) as well as the Original Theatrical Trailer. For a film with a length of 140 minutes this is quite impressive.
NATALI is certainly no stranger to either the sci-fi or horror genres and here he combines some of the best elements of both in a film which comes highly recommended!