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Movie Review of "Splice"
"Splice" is an intriguing science fiction / horror flick that takes both genetic engineering and human drama to an extreme.
The Secrets of “Splice”
Elsa Kast has been keeping secrets from her partner, Clive Nicoli. She has not admitted that she was abused as a child, skewing her ability to parent a child of any species or making her reluctant to have a human baby.
She also hid the fact from him that she was the source of the human DNA in Dren, their creation. They must work together to hide the existence of part human Dren from the company for which they both work.
Relationships Gone Wrong
Clive discovers Elsa’s secret use of not just human DNA but her own, but not until his own betrayal of Elsa. New mothers often fixate upon their children to the exclusion of their partners, and Clive doesn’t realize this is the source of her withdrawal from him until he’s cheated on her.
*** SPOILER ALERT *** Clive’s act of seducing Dren changes his role from Father-Protector to lover. It also drives Elsa to sexual jealousy of her “offspring”, causing her to take away all of Dren’s toys, clothing and accoutrements of humanity. Elsa repeats the pattern of angry denial of love and physical possessions that her own mother followed. This turns Dren against Elsa and makes it want Clive even more. But Clive sees Elsa’s pain and withdraws from Dren. This dual betrayal and isolation creates the rage that likely drives Dren to sexual jealousy of Elsa, precipitating Dren’s murder of Clive and subsequent rape of Elsa. *** Spoilers over.
Mistakes in “Splice”
Elsa involved herself literally in her research, resulting in her inability to terminate the project before it went too far. The mix of mother and scientist also prevents Elsa from acting at a critical moment to save Clive’s life. This mistake, the confusion of roles, ultimately cost Elsa the family she tried to create in all ways possible.
Elsa pushed Clive to break the rules, mixing in human DNA and then hide the results. This rule breaking allowed Dren to mature into a dangerous creature, something they knew from its birth due to the stinger in its tail. Clive tried to secretly obey the rules and drown a crying toddler Dren to silence it and kill it. When Dren turns out to be amphibious, Elsa sees him as protecting the child and holding secret knowledge. Yet failing to tell the truth of his efforts to drown the child lead to the migration to a more remote site where they have less control over Dren and less information about the other hybrids.
Focusing on Dren causes the couple to neglect their work in the lab with legally created hybrid animals. The younger animal changes gender and attacks its intended mate. If they had been in the lab full time, they would have realized the gender change before introducing the animals as a pair at a symposium, causing terrible embarrassment to management while horrifying the public. The neglect of the science behind their creations and the resulting blood shed foreshadows Dren’s own changes and incipient violence. But if they had been in the lab, they would have known that Dren could do the same or would not have let Dren mature at all.
Messages in the Movie “Splice”
“Splice” intertwines several these rather well. The first echoes “Frankenstein”, warning us of the dangers of tampering with nature. The future of science of the first hybrids turning into a blood bath carries this message, as well as Dren’s own murder of its “Father”.
A second message is a warning against mixing personal and professional, since the result is failure in both. The third theme seems to be that playing with human DNA and trying to play God will cost us everything. For Clive, it was losing his life to his creation. For Elsa, she has now divorced maternal instincts from the scientist, giving this movie a chilling conclusion.
Conclusion of the Movie
At the end of “Splice”, we see that Elsa is pregnant from the rape with Dren. She gets money and forgiveness for breaking company rules. This is in exchange for continuing the pregnancy by Dren and staying silent about what happened. While Clive previously accused her of being unable to have a child outside the lab because she couldn't control it, now she has agreed to carry a child inside of her and deliver it to the lab.
While Dren was partially hers, her unborn child is half her DNA as well as partially hers through Dren - making it more hers than a normal child. And she is willing to sacrifice this child to the lab that now owns her soul.
Review of Splice
"Splice" can be described as a female Dr. Frankenstein movie crossed with a warning about genetic engineering and medical research.