by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Splice, which was made in Canada, takes a page from the book of "biology gone mad" sci-fi formerly mastered by that country's own mad genius, David Cronenberg. It's about the perils that might be faced if DNA experimentation were to be taken to a level beyond that which would be permitted by our current ethical standards. A husband/wife pair of scientists sees the potential in using hybrid DNA to combat many of mankind's most formidable challenges, including hereditary disorders, degenerative diseases, genetic mutations, etc. As their progress sputters, they become aware that they cannot succeed without adding some human DNA to the recipe.

This may sound implausible to you, but it is not. The science is already within our grasp, but we are held back by ethical constraints. The vast majority of people today do not believe that human fetuses should be bred for their value as replacement parts, nor do they believe that human/animal hybrids should be produced. But we may change our minds, as many of us have over the past decade or so regarding stem cell research.  The "X" factor here is cultural, not scientific. Science is constant. We may not yet understand all the rules of the universe, but the only thing that changes over time is our understanding of those rules, not the rules themselves. On the other hand, our ethical rules are not constant. They differ from culture to culture and evolve within cultures. At some time in the future, humans may reason that the virtual eradication of human suffering or famine might be enough justification to sanction certain means which we reject today on ethical or religious grounds.

The scientists in this movie apply that sort of logic to their experimentation. In the process, they create a female creature which seems very human in some ways, although it has a tail and lacks vocal chords. The creature isn't an object to them, but is somewhere between a beloved family pet and a daughter. Or more.

Of course, this is a genre movie and not a scientific hypothesis, so the script starts to stray from the dry argumentation of scientific ethics, and wanders into the realm of the sensational. What if the female scientist were to use her own DNA in the splicing process? Would the wife's tendency to be attracted to her husband also be passed on the the female creature? How would he react to that? What if her family had its own history of psychological disorders? What if those disorders were transmitted to the new species? What if that species also had some super-human capabilities which enabled it to go beyond its status as a subservient child to assume dominance over its surrogate parents?

I think you can guess where this is going.

There is a high level of tension and some visual imagination in scene after scene, so it's a shame that the intriguing premise led eventually to another routine gore-fest followed by the usual open-ended wrap-up (the end????) that seems to be the official cliché required by this genre. With a solid cast including Adrian Brody and Sarah Polley, the film is intriguing when it remains 90% cerebral, 10% visceral, and I was still holding out hope for an interesting resolution when the film started getting twisted and the husband was having sex with his wife's winged, amphibious half-clone. But once the blood started flowing and the film just became yet another updated version of the hackneyed Frankenstein parable, I lost interest in the film's ideas and started yawning.

Blu-Ray DVD


3 Roger Ebert (of 4 stars)
74 Rotten Tomatoes  (% positive)
66 Metacritic.com (of 100)


6.5 IMDB summary (of 10)


Box Office Mojo. It grossed $17m in 2450 theaters.



  • Delphine Chaneac is naked as a creature who is partially human. Her breasts are real, but the rest of her body is prosthetic.


Web www.scoopy.com

Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


Ok genre film.