Directed by Vincenzo Natali
I’ve been looking forward to see this film since the early reviews I read for it called it extremely disturbing and sexually charged. The trailers for the film certainly seemed to affirm these characteristics as well as point out just how different the film was from other horror movies. After having seen the film, I’m pretty convinced that it indeed was different, but not necessarily anything else.
The main problem with “Splice” is how slow it is. It’s methodical and well written, but for a “monster” film that’s just not something that works. Yes, I realize that I should have an open mind and nowhere does it say a monster film can’t be slow, but unfortunately despite taking their time with the plot and the scares, it just never amounts to anything. A large part of the tension for the entire film comes near the end, and by then the payoff isn’t worthy of the buildup. So much times is spent laying the groundwork for something terrible to happen that when it does, it just seems kind of anti-climactic. (Which considering the sex scenes towards the end of the film, might be some kind of a weird joke by Natali.)
The other issue I have with the film lies in the main characters. Both Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley do a very good job in their roles, but that doesn’t hide the fact that for two supposedly extremely intelligent individuals they make some of the stupidest decisions I have ever seen in a horror film. Some of the actions they take don’t even make sense from a character standpoint and they seem to flop around from one extreme emotion to the next without any apparent reason. I understand that the horror film genre more or less dictates that your main characters need to be somewhat stupid to get themselves into the predicaments that they end up in, but the extremes that this film goes to is just ridiculous at times. And for a film that already tries to break some of these molds (i.e. the pacing and tension) why not break from this tradition of the stupid protagonist as well?
If it sounds like I’m being too hard on this film, it’s probably because I am. I had high expectations for it, and it certainly entertained me, it just left me wishing that it had been more than it was. There was some very good ideas at work in the film, but the execution often left something to be desired.