Splice (2010)

★ ☆ ☆ ☆

**Spoiler Alert**

Ordinarily, I do my best to avoid spoilers. However, I think it would be a disservice in this case. Simply put, Splice is the most disgusting movie I have ever seen. It is the only movie that has ever made me feel physically ill. Inter-species sex? Really? I can't imagine why anyone would want to see that. I guess it wouldn't be so bad if there were redeeming qualities in the movie. There weren't. Sadly, the critics loved it. It was widely considered an intelligent exploration of the moral dimension of genetic engineering, and a parable for the difficulties of parenting. What rubbish. It had all the moral complexity that you would expect from a dinner table political discussion.

Splice is about a genetic experiment, which leads to the creation of a human/animal hybrid. The experiment began as an attempt to create a new medicinal compound, quickly spun out of control. In short, it is a diatribe against genetic engineering. While I'm sympathetic to this position, I was disapointed by the simplistic approach director Vincenzo Natali took to the issue. He aimed for a purely visceral reaction, which is exactly what he got. However, I'm not sure it actually caused anyone to think any deeper about the issue.

For a movie that has been praised for it's treatment of complex moral issues, the dialogue was surprisingly amateurish. The rushed conversations were filled with talking points, and flippant reversals. It felt like a made for tv movie, with slightly better special effects. While Adrian Brody wasn't terrible, Sarah Polley put in a performance unworthy of a b-movie. Instead of the suspense that it aimed to create, the film elicited little more than unintentional giggles, and a good deal of disgust from the audience. Guillermo del Toro should be embarrassed to have lent his name to such an amateurish production.

It seems that the entire purpose of Splice was to 'push the envelope.' Given that critics seem to mistake edginess for thoughtfulness, this was probably a good marketing ploy. Ironically, I wouldn't be surprised if this tactic was self defeating. After all, this project received $2.5 million from TeleFilm Canada, a Canadian Government funded cultural agency. Given the number of people who left the theatre in disgust, I wouldn't be surprised if there were calls to review Canadian film subsidies. Though I'm against most forms of censorship, it's hard to blame people for not wanting to fund films that they find incredibly offensive. If there is a market for inter-species sex scenes, film companies should be able to raise the money themselves. Somehow, I doubt that this market exists.