Combustible Celluloid
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With: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chanéac, Brandon McGibbon, Simona Maicanescu, David Hewlett, Abigail Chu
Written by: Vincenzo Natali, Antoinette Terry Bryant, Doug Taylor, based on a story by Vincenzo Natali, Antoinette Terry Bryant
Directed by: Vincenzo Natali
MPAA Rating: R for disturbing elements including strong sexuality, nudity, sci-fi violence and language
Running Time: 104
Date: 10/06/2009

Splice (2010)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Monster Love

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This movie is messed up, but in the most wonderful ways. Directed and co-written by Vincenzo Natali (Cube), Splice moves through familiar territory, including films like Frankenstein, E.T., and Jurassic Park, but it touches on some seriously complex and twisted ideas, such as the meaning of family and the concept of creation. Nevertheless, it has a perfectly confident and nonchalant tone as it navigates these sticky issues; it's even ever so slightly comical. (Or perhaps the laughter is just a reaction to the movie's uncomfortable suggestions.)

On the verge of losing control of their laboratory under a tangle of red tape, two rebellious scientists, the romantically-involved Elsa (Sarah Polley) and Clive (Adrien Brody) impulsively decide to experiment with crossing animal and human DNA. The result of their experiment matures frighteningly fast, eventually appearing as the weirdly pretty adult female creature known as "Dren" (Delphine Chanéac). Unfortunately, since Elsa and Clive have crossed many legal and ethical lines, they must keep Dren a secret. But their emotional involvement with the creature -- and with each other -- may prevent them from understanding what Dren really is: a potentially deadly monster.

Director Natali balances everything pitch-perfectly, from the performances to the hair-raising sound design, and all the way down to images of the creepy, snowy woods during the film's tense climax. It's easily the most satisfying movie in a summer so far stocked with lazy sequels and duds. Guillermo del Toro was a co-producer.

Warner Home Video has released a two-disc set with a DVD and a digital copy on one side and a Blu-Ray on the other. The only extra is an on-set featurette, but the picture and sound quality on this release are astounding. If you missed this in theaters, or if you only saw it once and didn't like it, then give it another chance now.

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