Splice (2010)
Directed by Vincenzo Natali

Starring Adrien Brody Delphine Chaneac Sarah Polly

"Splice" is one of those movies that just makes you ache, because it almost achieves greatness, and just falls short. But when it's great, it really is a top-notch horror film. Well worth a rental, stream, download, or whatever you do to catch a movie in these modern times.

Oscar Winner Adrien Brody (of Roman Polanski "The Pianist" fame and Dario Argento "Giallo" infamy) plays a hot shot bio-scientist married to fellow hot-shot Sara Polly (of "Dawn of the Dead" remake and "Go" fame). The two of them create new life forms for a corporation in a crusade to create new patented drugs, or something like that.

They are straight out of today's science-for-profit headlines, appearing on the cover of "Wired" magazine, arrogantly talking down to the French CEO of their corporation, and, of course, playing God when they decide to splice human DNA with an almagamation of life forms to create a being they hope will spell big profits -- and of course help them to play God.

Yeah, it's Frankenstein all over again, but with a modern power couple displaying Silicon Valley-style hubris, and a female creature this time out.

And it's awesome during the first three fourths, which look and feel like a top-notch David Cronenberg horror film from the mid to late '80s. Then, the last quarter falls flat -- really flat.

Director Natali delievered a similar product more than 10 years ago with “Cube”, a film that had an awesome concent but just didn’t quite gel at the end.

The highlight of the movie is a performance by Delphine Chaneac as the female creature. Unlike the Bride of Frankenstein, we get to watch her grow into an exotic, beautiful, monster girl with a human desire for love and, eventually, wings. Another highlight is a corporate presentation with two other life forms that goes disastrously and hilariously wrong.

It would have been a classic if not for the letdown ending, which makes me think either the writer-director ran out of inspiration while he was penning the script or the production ran out of money. Still, well worth seeing.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

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