WARNING: SPOILER ALERT
I went to a matinée of Splice, thinking I was going to see a by the numbers horror film. The film is frighteningly more. It is a morality tale of arrogant humans playing at being the maker and abusing genetically manipulated creatures.
In Splice, Elsa (Sara Polley), a young woman, ranks as one of the most evil characters I have seen on film or television, or read about in literature. Elsa’s cool calm rationality, a scientific façade hiding behind her damaged psyche (yes, mommy issues!) is more chilling that an ax murder. Elsa operates outside the law and ethics to bio-engineer a creature from the spliced DNA of human and animal genetic material. It is unclear what animals are spliced in the experiment but Dren, the engineered creature, has legs, wings, and eyes like a bird, and a tail with a poisonous spike like a stingray.
The question for me throughout the film is who is evil? Is it Dren who does abominable things or Elsa and boyfriend Clive (Adrien Brody) who play god and manufacture evil. Much like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the creation is both a sympathetic and evil character. The film is also a homage to the monsters in the Alien and Species movies. So who or what is evil: the makers or the creature?
Throughout, Elsa and Clive have crossed ethical and legal boundaries but forge ahead. Ultimately, they fall prey to the evil they created. You’ll have to see the film to understand what I mean.
As I watched the movie, I thought about the Tuskegee Experiment in which African American men in Alabama with syphilis were test subjects used to track the ravages of the disease. Even when scientist discovered a cure, these same African American men were left to go insane and die from the disease as white scientists continued their inquiries.
As we continue to test the boundaries of genetic engineering, looking back to the bad and unethical science of the past, who or what is our nightmare and danger?
PHOTOS BY DIANNE GLAVE unless otherwise noted
Nice review – I especially like your take on Elsa. I wish the film had explored more deeply (and more scientifically/psychologically) these aspects it touched on. Too often it seemed to want to devolve into a generic horror flick – but, man, what a freaky and weird flick it was.
I just don’t see people taking to this film very well – the marketing campaign was misleading, and it goes to some very dark places.
Here’s more on my thoughts if you are interested –
Thanks for stopping by, Dave. I really enjoyed your review! I see we share a love for moview!
I haven’t seen this film but the gossip and the clips they have shown suggest it is another Species film as well as a hint at what people think of certain so called scientists or “researchers”. (and watering the real thing down into this dribbling media filmed mess).
The idea of messing with parts of life (what some call DNA, Genetics, whatever) is just mainstream gossip as well as a vivisector’s imagination. And it has been repeated before.
The syphilis case – using humans directly for experimenting with an idea, its been going on for years and has not really just suddenly stopped (and no scientist or a vivisector ever cured syphilis, no different than any plague or disease, though some won’t accept this because it “offends” them, their job, grants to repeat the same garbage research, their education. They will take credit where it is not due). A natural species is a healthy species, not a cultivated, doctor, medicine dependent one.
Testing, “researching”, experimenting, vivisecting, it still goes on in the forms of drug testing (using nonhuman animals as a guize and “get out of the blame” card), vaccinations, overall drugs in medicines and even the food industry one could call artifical or flavour enhancers, Enumbers, colourants, then there is the cosmetics and household material chemicals for vehicles and decoration.
None of it is safe in humans but it goes on anyway to be tested in animals, or directly in humans, depending on what suits them better in the situation.
Africans, Americans, British, German, any country with a medical and or chemical industry, it goes on anywhere and anyhow. There is no favourite country when they all have the same places to do it, just under a different name or organization.